For most of us, childhood was a carefree time, an age of innocence, discovery, and creativity.  Many of the stories we learned in childhood remain with us today.  I am going to encourage you, through this blog post, to channel your inner adolescence and add to your reading list some children’s books which offer up valuable lessons in leadership.

1. Where the Wild Things are – Maurice Sendak

This delightful book  magnifies the need for imagination, creativity, and the return to reality and stability.

2.  The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein

A thought provoking dissertation on the power of imagination and creativity. It gives us pause to study the give and take in interpersonal relationships and the laws of reciprocity.

3.  The Very Hungry Catepillar – Eric Carte

The metamorphosis and transformation of this bug with a voracious appetite draws parallels between the maturing of individuals both personally and professionally.  Evolution of a person and their purpose can be examined through the eyes of this simplistic and inspiring story.

4.  The Lorax – Dr. Theodor Suess Geisel

Here we examine what happens when “too much” becomes “not enough.”  Leaders do well to understand their obligations as stewards of the resources (people and environmental) which are entrusted to their care. Greed breeds social and organizational irresponsibility.  This is a word to the wise about the land mines found on the path of success.

5.  The Little Red Hen – Paul Galdon

This classic tale of determination and perseverance, despite a lack of help and support serves as an inspiring and motivating text for leaders.  The proverbial show must go on even as resources  become scarce.  Personal initiative is paramount to achieving goals and objectives despite resistance and lack of support.

All of these great books have valuable morals which are applicable to the role of leadership.  So many times we define, dissect, explain a problem using big words, cliches, buzz words, and run-on sentences.  These stories leave off all the bravado and focus on the central themes in succinct ways.  They are “easy reads” that do not take much time to digest and absorb.  You might feel a little silly, but, you’ll be better for having indulged your inner adolescent!