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Leadership in Children's Stories



How do you get your leaders to think differently?  What is going to create an innovative spark to help change management practices, leadership styles and ultimately the culture of an organisation?  How do you engage with your new leaders who are part of the millennial generation?

We have encouraged our teams to read leading business books such as Jim Collin’s “Good to Great” or Peters and Waterman “In Search of Excellence” to help make them better managers and leaders.  While these are great books full of inspiration, ideas and challenges on how to make ourselves and our organisations better, there is a whole different set of books you can put on the reading list that can provide great insights into management, leadership and culture.  And best of all they are all a short read! 

There is a selection of children’s stories that give great business insight and lessons, and for less than 30 minutes per book, they might have more attraction for the various generations in your leadership team. Here are a few new books to consider adding to your HR bookshelf: -

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish published in 1963 it is a great story about the importance of being clear about what your instructions when you communicate with your teams.  Amelia is a cleaning lady, working for a family in a grand house.  She is left instructions to “draw the curtains” which she dutifully does leaving a lovely picture of the curtains for her employer.  There are several examples in this children’s book that help make the point regarding clear and concise communication, especially if you are working in multinational teams where everyone’s first language is not English

Madeline says Merci by Ludwig Bemelmans in 1939.  Madeline is a student in an all-girls school in France where manners and proper behaviour is the foundation for all well brought up ladies.  There are some great lessons about saying please and thank you, and never forgetting your behaviours and attitude affect those around you.  A lesson that is vital for all business leaders.  

Green Eggs and Ham a 1960 Dr. Seuss classic and one of the top most-read children’s books.  Hidden in this iconic story are many lessons for managers and leaders with the most important being the willingness to try new things.  Whether it is green eggs or new technologies – if leaders do not have the desire to try new things then their teams will not take the risk to be innovative or think outside of the box.

The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper published in 1930 it is the classic book of determination and positive thinking.   “I think I can I think I can…” from the smallest train who has the optimism to accomplish a task the bigger engines did not want or could not do.  Leaders and managers can learn a lot from the little engine on showing determination to achieve an end deliverable, even when it feels impossible.  Great leadership provides encouragement and positive insights to their team to help them climb to the top.

These are just four examples of children’s stories that you might want to encourage your leaders and managers to read.  Unlike some of the other excellent business and management books on the market, these can be read in less than an hour, and they have colour pictures, and you can even use them to “double task” as a good night story for your children.  A win/win.

Mary Sue Rogers

April 2016

Posted On : 24-04-16

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