I have always admired good writers. As an avid reader, I am inspired by those that can tell a good story through written communication. I have to admit, writing does not come easy to me. Since I started at ASE 29 years ago, I have had to write articles, blogs, memos, emails, and reports on a daily basis. You would think I’d be used to it by now, but I still struggle. When I came across an article on writing recently, I was intrigued to find out that writing regularly can lead to becoming a better leader.
Author John Hall found that the more he wrote, the better a leader he became. Prior to writing his book, he didn’t even enjoy writing. Hall claims that by writing something every day, you can consistently:
- Improve Your Sense of Self – Hall says that you should treat writing as a way to discover your true self. Putting your thoughts to paper can help clear your mind, and you are likely to see consistencies in the thoughts you are documenting. This will help to see patterns in your behavior and personality.
- Become More Organized – Writing has definitely helped me become more organized. I write everything down…everything. If I have things that need to be done before leaving for work in the morning, I write them down the night before. Not only does it make me feel more organized, but it helps to keep me on schedule and not forget anything. It allows me to fall asleep more peacefully and not have to worry about the next day.
- Strengthen Your Communication Skills – The more you write, the easier it gets and the more you’ll enjoy it. Writing is such an important skill in the workplace. In today’s electronic world, we actually communicate more by writing than any other method. Consider how we communicate with colleagues and employees….email. Being able to clearly communicate with writing is an important skill for any leader to have. You can not express yourself with body language or tone of voice, so your words must be chosen wisely.
- Become More Disciplined – As you begin to write more, it often becomes a “ritualized” behavior. Maybe you journal every morning or jot down notes in the evening. Perhaps it’s a weekly blog. Setting a time every day to write can help you become more disciplined with your time – a strength for any leader.
- Lower Your Stress Levels – Writing has been shown to reduce stress by allowing the writer to express their emotions on paper rather than keeping them bottled up inside. I know this definitely helps me, as I mentioned prior. It also helps me to problem solve by writing down the problem and then writing down anything that comes to my mind about it. It’s a great way to work through an issue. I’ve also read a lot about gratitude and that writing down something every day that you are thankful for will actually make you a happier person.
With writing, getting started can be the hardest part. John Hall gives some tips for creating a writing habit, some of which I have used and found very helpful:
- Write When You Are Alone – Be free of distractions when you write.
- Don’t Criticize Yourself – I think this is the most important one. Often times, writers get stuck because they want every sentence to be perfect. But if you throw that concern aside and just write what comes to your mind, you’ll find your writing to reflect your true thoughts much more accurately and easily. You can go back later and edit the writing if it will be seen by others.
- Make Your Own Rules – Writing doesn’t always have to mean pen and paper. Use a tablet, a computer, your phone, etc. Diction software is also growing in popularity.
- Read and Write Daily – The only way to get better is to do it consistently. And this includes reading too. The more you read, the better a writer you’ll become.
Has writing strengthened your leadership skills? Email me at email@example.com.