What SmartBrief's top leadership posts of 2016 tell us

SmartBrief

Every year, SmartBrief's Leadership blog publishes hundreds of posts, each with the goal of offering useful advice for being a better and more thoughtful leader, manager, communicator and strategist.

In doing so, we don't want to promise all the answers. Almost nothing is "5 simple ways to..." and so we'd rather give you some questions to ask, tools to try, food for thought, and work to empower your own discovery, trial and error, and improvements.

All this is in line with the people-first approach of our daily newsletter, SmartBrief on Leadership (please sign up!). But we know many of our readers are arriving from other SmartBrief newsletters, or from Google, social or some other corner of the Web. Regardless of your familiarity with SmartBrief, regardless of whether you have a leadership role, these posts can help you.

Is there a theme to this year's list?

Most people want to improve themselves, especially at things they care about. If that holds true here, then our top 15 list has an audience of people who want to be better leaders, managers and coaches, who want to better themselves -- to work smarter rather than harder, to speak up when they must, to build better companies with positive and open cultures. This focus on leadership self-improvement is much like what we saw in last year's list.

How do you determine the most popular posts?

By pageviews. This isn't a ranking of the best posts, and factors affecting popularity include when a post ran, how good its headlines were, whether we received a random source of traffic, et al. That said, we know that each of these generated outsized interest,

Joel Garfinkle has our most popular post for the second straight year, and three of this year's top nine overall. Two posts were from previous years: Dan McCarthy's late 2015 post on New Year's development goals (also a top post last year) and Arte Nathan's 2011 post on managing unionized employees, which is a perennial favorite.

Who is to thank for this?

Not me! I write infrequently here, and it's our wonderful contributor network, people who care about how our workplaces function and how people are treated, that writes most of what you'll read here. In addition, we all benefit from the countless less frequent guest bloggers (and the PR and publisher folks who work on their behalf).

Just show me the list.

  1. "How to start a conversation you're dreading" -- Joel Garfinkle, Oct. 17
  2. "The best bosses follow these 7 rules" -- Joel Garfinkle, July 18
  3. "The surprising way to protect yourself from burnout" -- Michael Lee Stallard, Oct. 31
  4. "Why emotional intelligence matters" -- Naphtali Hoff, Feb. 10
  5. "What brain science says about how to manage your time to be more successful" -- LaRae Quy, Nov. 16
  6. "Lessons from a pancake house" -- Bob Tiede (for Lead Change Group), April 7
  7. "Drama: Good for ratings, bad for business" -- Nate Regier (for Lead Change Group), Sept. 15
  8. "New Year's development goals for leaders: 2016 edition" -- Dan McCarthy, Dec. 24, 2015
  9. "Shine as a leader with strong facilitation skills" -- Joel Garfinkle, Aug. 15
  10. "Cast sunlight at work, not shade" -- Jennifer V. Miller, Oct. 11
  11. "Employees say you have a toxic culture? Here's how to fix it" -- S. Chris Edmonds, March 22
  12. "3 habits to break before becoming a leader" -- Marlene Chism, Oct. 3
  13. "Walking the tightrope of life" -- Naphtali Hoff, July 13
  14. "7 ways to manage employees who are represented by a union" -- Arte Nathan, Sept. 23, 2011
  15. "What's the archetype of a next-decade leader?" -- Alaina Love, Aug. 22
     

James daSilva is a senior editor at SmartBrief in charge of SmartBrief's leadership and management content, as well as newsletters for entrepreneurs, HR executives, wholesale-distributors and manufacturers. Before joining SmartBrief, he was copy desk chief at a daily newspaper in New York. You can find him on Twitter sharing leadership and management insights @SBLeaders.