Readers of this blog and of our SmartBrief on Leadership newsletter in 2013 were overwhelmingly interested in being better communicators, and it showed in the results of the most-read posts of that year.
The difficulty of communicating well and consistently, even for high-ranking and talented leaders, spurred us to add a section in the daily newsletter this year specifically for smarter communication, as well as a blog series on communication with Switch & Shift. And this focus makes sense — leaders need to communicate with each other, with their reports, with clients and customers, the public and, sometimes, government. They must communicate feedback, bad news, motivation, strategy and shape culture. And we’ll continue to emphasize the human part of work.
What was this year’s focus?
That said, in 2014, the focus of our most popular blog posts shifted a bit. Readers still wanted to become better at communication skills, but they also wanted to know how to deploy those skills and read them in others. For instance, the most-clicked-on stories in the Leadership newsletter (which has some overlap with this list) was “How to tell when someone’s lying to you” — a summary of this Business Insider article.
This is good news! Our readers and subscribers — you, most likely — are looking to be better communicators, and part of that is knowing, understanding and reacting to what others are doing. Communication needn’t be a zero-sum game, though; understanding others has win-win outcomes, such as realizing when your words aren’t having the right affect, or learning how to take constructive criticism and do something with it.
Our readers are also looking for what not to do, whether it’s bad leadership advice to avoid or how to get out of the always-on, “rush” lifestyle. None of these things is easy to do, and none is a one-time, fix-it-forever task. And so we’ll keep writing about these issues, and delivering advice in our newsletter, and trying to do better to make you smarter, better leaders.
Finally, this blog would be a shell of itself without the incredible regular contributors and the countless occasional and guest bloggers (and the PR and publisher folks who work on their behalf). If we’ve helped anyone this year, it’s largely because of their efforts.
Let’s finally get to it: Here are the 10 most-read SmartBlog on Leadership posts published this year — I’ll update if something in the next two weeks pushes into the top 10*:
- “10 phrases that will make you a better leader” — Dan McCarthy, July 24
- “Dealing with personality stallers — ours and others” — Kim Zoller and Kerry Preston, June 19
- “Is your leadership presence a true reflection of who you really are?” — Jennifer V. Miller, April 8
- “Bad leadership and management advice you should run away from” — Dan McCarthy, June 26
- “Lessons from an award-winning leader: 7 ways to improve workplace morale and employee engagement” — Jennifer V. Miller, June 10
- “What can you accomplish in 9 minutes?” — Kevin Karschnick, Feb. 19
- “What people wished their leaders knew” — John R. Stoker, Nov. 10
- “4 leadership tips that will make people adore you” — John R. Stoker, Aug. 1
- “Top talent walking out the door? Here’s how to get them to stay” — Jennifer V. Miller, Feb. 11
- “Are you suffering from “rush” syndrome? Take this 7-point quiz” — Joel Garfinkle, July 21
A final note
*The excellent Artie Nathan, thanks to his wise advice and Google search rankings, I assume, had two posts from 2011 that continue to drive huge amounts of traffic to the site. I did not count those for the 2014 ranking, but here they are for you:
- “12 ways to keep your employees motivated, engaged and unified” — April 18, 2011.
- “7 ways to manage employees who are represented by a union” — Sept. 23, 2011