Great leaders are great readers

Published 10:28 pm Thursday, September 14, 2017

By Elaine Lankford

Can you imagine being gifted in a way that you are keenly aware of what is happening around you, and your mind automatically calculates what needs to happen next?

Well, in some area of your life, you have a level of intuition that naturally flows from you. Maybe for you it is related to the stock market, maybe it is planning military strategies or maybe it relates to your immediate family needs.

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In leadership, intuition plays a role in how we carry out day-to-day business in our organizations. Natural leadership ability comes with a built-in level of intuition that allows high level, targeted influence. However, for most of us, as our leadership ability grows, so does our ability to be intuitive.

In his book, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership,” John Maxwell expresses that leaders have a different way of looking at things than others. Thus, the Law of Intuition states: “Leaders evaluate everything with a leadership bias.”

In other words, leaders don’t just see the issue, they start to see the possible solutions to solving it just as the problem presents itself.

Maxwell explains that leaders are readers, making their perception of their environment come to life. Let’s look at five areas that leaders read and draw information from which fuels their intuition and allows them to make strategic decisions quickly.

  • Leaders are readers of their situations, picking up clues that may escape others. Have you ever noticed how detail-oriented a naturally gifted leader is? Even growing leaders can enter a room, size up the overall room temperature and know how the conversation is going to go.
  • Leaders are readers of trends, because they can take a step back, see the whole picture, and see what is changing. Big-picture thinking and vision are keys to leading others.
  • Leaders are readers of their resources, knowing what they have at their disposal and how they can maximize its use. To move a plan forward, we must first know what we have to work with and how to get what we don’t possess.
  • Leaders are readers of people, easily picking up on how their followers are reacting to current circumstances or decisions. As decisions are implemented, a leader must keep her fingers on the pulse running throughout the organization in order to head off future issues.
  • Finally, leaders are readers of themselves, recognizing how their own strengths, weaknesses, and current mindsets can make or break the organization. We must be willing to be honest with ourselves in these areas if we are going to move our leadership abilities forward.

Today, start looking at everything through the lens of your leadership eye and listen to that still, small voice inside of you a little more.

The late Steve Jobs, co-founder, former chairman, and former chief executive officer of Apple, once said: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. Everything else is secondary.”

Elaine Lankford is a John Maxwell certified coach, teacher, trainer, and speaker. She is the founder of Transforming Love Ministries, LLC and a board member of the Christian Business Coalition of Hampton Roads. Email her at