By Dan McCarthy
I’m honored to have been asked by DDI to assemble the best leadership posts from 2010. As the host of the monthly Leadership Development Carnival at my own blog, Great Leadership, I have the pleasure of rounding up the best of the best on a regular basis.
With all due respect to Harvard Business Publishing, The Washington Post, and Fortune Magazine, and the academic scholars, I’ve decided to limit my selection to the independent leadership bloggers. Great ideas about leadership and leadership development are no longer limited to a handful of well-known “gurus”.
You may be wondering how I determined that the collection of posts below were “the best” – out of those thousands. I actually didn’t. Instead, I reached out to some of my own personal favorite leadership bloggers – OK, to me, they’re the “best”- and asked each of them to submit their own favorite posts with a comment from the author. And they are . . .
Why: “The leader's role in cultivating a workplace environment that stimulates and supports innovation has never been more important. It takes an effective leader, well-grounded in the purpose of his/her role and focused on supporting others to create an environment for innovation to take root and then flourish.” -
Why: “Everyone has power. Everyone. There's value in understanding what kind of power and the best way to use it.”
Why: “It uses a specific situation to talk managers through how to hold an underperforming employee accountable, addressing a lot of the common qualms managers have when faced with this.”
Why: “The measure of a leader is what he/she does in tough times. This blog provides a practical way of approaching leadership in tough times by doing what employees need you to do: be seen, be heard, be there.”
Why: “All things require practice to get better at them. This is true of ballet, and it’s also true of leadership. The prima continues to practice even when at the top of her game; so should a leader. This post compares the practice necessary to exhibit a stunning performance, whether one is a ballerina or a leader.”
6. Kevin W. Grossman, Leaders. Better. Brighter.™ "Lead small. Think big. And be of self-aware endurance."
Why: “For me, it's indicative of what it means to lead self for the long run -- regardless of whether you're an individual contributor or a manager or a CEO. It truly epitomizes my continuous journey of learning and leading.”
7. Lisa Haneberg, Management Craft - "Six thoughts about Middle Management"
Why: “I think it offers a positive and refreshing take on a very important, but often not appreciated role. It got a lot of comments, so the post resonated with folks.”
Why: “I think this is a good post because while as leaders we must always be decisive, these aren’t the decisions that come at us consciously, yet when we make these decisions effectively, we are well on our way to being a more effective leader.”
Why: “The essay highlights the rapid pace of information flow in the workplace and offers 6 tips for leaders in how to provide context to their contributors.”
Why: “We have choices to make every day; and with the hectic pace of work and life, it's altogether too easy to make a snap decision that wreaks unintended havoc. Using a simple decision-making process promotes buy-in, reduces the possibility of huge blunders and puts the woulda/coulda/shoulda/ gremlin to bed.”
11. Wally Bock, Three Star Leadership - "The Attitude Trap"
Why: “This is an issue for bosses because it seems so logical. But, addressing a bad attitude directly is a trap. It will get you argument, denial, and withdrawal, but little or no change. It may even generate anger and bad blood. It's more effective and very easy to ask yourself a simple question and then take action.”
Why: “The post captures the naked emotion of leadership under fire by providing a stark juxtaposition of career path and story. The lessons of the post remind would-be leaders that platitude-filled corporate paths, by design, cannot prepare them to stand on their own two feet.”
13. Bret Simmons, Bret Simmons - Positive Organizational Behavior - "Leadership is a Journey"
Why: “This was a very impromptu post. I read something that challenged my thinking, then shared the experience with my readers. A good blog posts challenges people so see things in ways they might not have anticipated. Blogging is a way for me to document my own learning and growing process, and this blog post is a good example of that.”
Why: “I picked this because it’s personal. At the time I wrote it, it was something I was really working on and part of my IDP. Six months later, after following my own advice, I’ve been told to stop telling people it’s a development need – because it’s not. There’s no such thing as “hard wired” – anybody can change if they want to, know how to, and work at it”.
Why: “What I like about this piece is that it’s brief, relevant and actionable. It takes a fairly complex topic and provides a simple framework that can be easily adopted. I also liked the post because of the value contained in the comments section”.
Why: “The post highlights that while we talk about how leadership includes developing teams, we often miss important considerations in what it means to actually develop *teams* and not just groups of individuals.”
17. Scott Eblin, Next Level Blog - "What We Can About Leadership from the Chilean Miners"
Why: “I wrote this about three weeks into the drama. There were great leadership lessons at that point and even more later. Wrote a follow up posts on the rescuers. To me, it’s the leadership story of the year and it has a happy ending!”
18. Erin Schreyer, Authentic Leadership - "You Are One of a Kind, and I’ll Lead You That Way"
Why: “Treating people differently can pose challenges for some organizations. This post provides a few practical tips on how leaders can provide this benefit!”
Why: “Leaders who want change often find themselves with willing, but confused, followers. The answer: Be more specific.”
Why: "It touched upon systemic issues that leaders and their reports deal with every day. Moreover, the comments provided by my readers helped to take the conversation beyond the original post."
If you think I missed an outstanding leadership post – and I’m sure I did – feel free to leave a comment with the link and why you think it’s so good.
Dan McCarthy is the author of the award-winning leadership development blog Great Leadership, which draws on his 20-plus years of experience in the field of leadership development. He is currently the manager of leadership and management development at a Fortune “Great Place to Work,” “Training Top 125″, and “High Impact Learning” (HILO 80) company.