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Leadership Lessons Learned From Children's Books

Published: September 2, 2016       Updated: April 21, 2024

3 min read

Marketers today need to always be learning, and I've found that one of my favorite sources of knowledge -- and wisdom -- is children's books.  While my husband prefers to delight our little ones with cute puppy videos on his iPad at bedtime, I like to go old school -- reading to our babies from those thick, paperboard pages.  Some nights, after a long day at work, the reading list is especially therapeutic; I pretty much feel like the books are speaking to me.

Now, let's say that you are a marketing leader at an up-and-coming B2B technology company. What books should you be reading at bedtime tonight? Here are a few of my recommendations:

1. Little Blue Truck

Leadership Lesson: Always be kind to others and they will be there to help when you get stuck.

Anyone can be a leader, even the little blue truck. Beyond teaching kids that it's important to be sweet to others, this book speaks about some of the top qualities of highly successful people:

  • Optimism: Be a light to others and help them shine with you.

  • Patience: Don't run over others and their hard work.

  • Connection: Make friends. Helping them go up the ladder will help you in the long run.

  • Communication: Use the gentle beep-beep, rather than the loud HONK HONK. 

2. Beautiful Oops!

Leadership Lesson: Mistakes happen. Transform them into a learning experience that might end up better than what was initially intended.

This book is one of my daughter's favorites. She is a perfectionist and this book really helped her see things another way. There is hope after mistakes; they are not the end of the road. Trial and error is part of human nature and it's part of what makes us better.

Celebrating an "oops" as an opportunity to create something great is a quality you can use to build your leadership and credibility. It's impressive enough to see someone in a position of power admit a mistake (too many don't). But it's even better to see that person pull a phoenix from the ashes.

To be that kind of leader, it's important to:

  • Say you are sorry. The world will still be spinning after you do.
  • Listen to feedback. Here is a great article about how to give and receive feedback in the workplace.
  • Start over. Simple as that.
  • Or take it from there: Use a mistake as the starting point for something amazing.

3. Winnie-the-Pooh

Leadership Lesson: Be caring, determined and a great teammate.

My youngest son is named Christopher, so we decorated his room with vintage Winnie-the-Pooh art. It's a constant reminder of the lessons I learned as a child from this "chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff," including:

  • Never give up in your search for honey.
  • Be always ready and willing to lend a helping hand.
  • Encourage others to find their tail or grow a garden.
  • Stay together when the storm is raging.
  • Build upon each other's strengths.

Children's books are short, simple, and easily scannable, but more importantly, they contain timeless words of wisdom that anyone can relate to.  I want my children to be leaders one day -- in marketing or whatever field they choose. It all starts at home, doesn't it?

Here are some more lessons in leadership and other things from my husband and Idea Grove founder Scott Baradell:

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