Growth through Fiction

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If you feel guilty for reading fiction, Amanda Setili’s article on how fiction books can improve leadership skills will remove guilt. Put your feet up and enjoy.

I’m deep into The Expanse book series, and it never ceases to amaze me how many insights and inspirations I get from reading fiction, especially science fiction.

Fiction makes it easier to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and to understand different perspectives: how others feel, and how they solve problems that might have baffled you.

In The Expanse series, Naomi Nagata is a superb engineer who can solve virtually any technical problem. At the point I’m now at in the series, there’s a war going on between an authoritarian government and a resistance group. Naomi’s role is gathering intelligence and feeding recommendations to the leader of the resistance. This role seems perfectly suited to her skills and temperament. But then the leader is killed and Naomi finds herself suddenly thrust into his former role as leader of a group that spans many solar systems. She finds herself in a position where everyone is looking to her for guidance and instructions. She must learn to act like a leader, which is a role she never wanted. This happens often in business, but seldom do we get such a behind-the-scenes understanding of what it feels like to be forced into this kind of transition.

To share another strategy for leveraging fiction, one of my clients organizes book clubs among their employees, engaging a local literature professor to lead the discussion on a certain novel. One participant summed it up this way: “We learn how each other thinks, because we all read the same thing, yet have completely different observations about it.” What a great way to build trust and understanding.

Key points include:

  • Leadership learning
  • Visualization

  • Thinking beyond your own parameters

 

Read the full article, Why You Should Drop That Business Book and Read a Work of Fiction Instead, on LinkedIn.