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What SmartBrief’s top leadership posts of 2019 tell us

A year-end look at our top blog posts of 2019 and what we can learn from them.

5 min read


What SmartBrief's top leadership posts of 2019 tell us

Every year, SmartBrief’s Leadership blog publishes a few hundred 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. There are no simple solutions to never-ending tasks like leadership, working with others and human interaction in general. Our writers are following the foundational belief of the SmartBrief on Leadership newsletter (please sign up!) — you don’t have to read us to stay current in your field, but we want you to want to read us to make yourself better and help others be better.

I’ve done this recap for several years now. For reference, here are last year’s and 2017’s.

What do these posts mean?

Being among the “most-read” posts includes factors such as luck, timing and whether I wrote a good headline when sharing the post in the SmartBrief on Leadership email newsletter. A post that doesn’t land is my fault, not the writer’s.

Sometimes, a post is fantastic but has a narrower audience. We’re measuring reach here, not impact. A post’s impact can be great even if the pageview total isn’t.

This year’s list includes a lot of situational leadership: Most of us recognize the scenarios, but the solutions will have to be tailored to the circumstances and context. For instance, John R. Stoker’s post about asking “questions for improving the quality of your leadership” encourages each reader to create a unique set of answers. To self-reflect is to embark on a distinct journey. 

Many of the other top-read posts are about being a better leader, communicating better, solving tough situations instead of shying away. These situations won’t disappear, no matter your age,  what leadership style you use, what title or authority you possess, what type of organization you work for, or which economic or political system you labor under. You might even find these posts helpful for your personal life.

The good news is that none of us is alone — we are all on a journey to be better. The bad news is that there are no easy or automatic answers.

As always, I want SmartBrief on Leadership to offer thoughtful advice, new paths or tactics to consider and insight that can help you reflect and act. I hope these posts provide a starting point.

Thank you

I’ve edited the SmartBrief on Leadership newsletter for eight years, and the blog for almost as long. This job helps me with my workplace interactions, and it helps me understand what others are going through. I’m eternally grateful to do this work and to have a job where every day is an opportunity to grow and learn.

We’re lucky to have a loyal audience that subscribes, opens and reads the newsletter, and clicks on the links to learn more. SmartBrief on Leadership blog posts get read — the average post published in 2019 had about 4.5 minutes per pageview. That’s a testament to the audience’s desire to learn and to the authors’ talents. Thank you for supporting our work.

Thank you to my regular contributors and the countless guest bloggers (and the PR and publisher folks who work on their behalf). This place thrives because of you. 

And, for yet another year, we’ve been blessed to have Mike Figliuolo, a leading blogger in his own right, continue writing our weekly reader poll and analysis. 

Here the most-read posts published in 2019.

  1. Are you working on you? Questions for improving the quality of your leadership” by John R. Stoker, May 7
  2. “America’s loneliness epidemic: A hidden systemic risk to organizations,” by Michael Lee Stallard, May 14
  3. “These gestures will improve your next presentation,” by Stephanie Scotti, Sept. 13
  4. “How nice leaders create team drama,” by Marlene Chism, June 3
  5. “3 mindsets that increase conflict competency,” by Marlene Chism, Feb. 4
  6. “How to give feedback like a boss,” by Naphtali Hoff, Aug. 14
  7. “3 psychology secrets to become mentally strong,” by LaRae Quy, July 17
  8. “Are you a boss or a leader? These characteristics will strengthen your leadership skills,” by John R. Stoker, Aug. 16
  9. “How to evaluate the quality of trust on your team,” by Alaina Love, June 4
  10. “3 mindsets that lack emotional intelligence,” by Dr. Steven Hymovitch (via Lead Change), April 4
  11. “This is how to use power poses to be successful in life,” by LaRae Quy, March 20
  12. “The high cost of tolerating bad behavior from top performers,” by S. Chris Edmonds, Feb. 26
  13. “The undiscussables: How to address the elephant in the room,” by Marlene Chism, March 4
  14. “3 communication tips to implement today,” by Diana Peterson-More, Aug. 8
  15. “The 3 I’s of effective leadership,” by Naphtali Hoff, April 10


James daSilva is the longtime editor of SmartBrief’s leadership newsletter and blog content. Contact him at @James_daSilva or by email.

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