With the New Year now well under way, many of us are understandably creating goals and developing plans for what we’d like to achieve over the course of the next 12 months. For myself, the start of a New Year also presents a unique opportunity to look back on the past 52 weeks to see which of my writings resonated the most with my readers.
It’s an interesting exercise because it not only lets me know what ideas and topics garner the most interest and engagement from my audience, but it also reveals some interesting patterns about what’s on the forefront on the minds of today’s leaders.
Perhaps most interestingly is the fact that – as was the case for the my top leadership insight in 2016 – the top leadership insight I shared last year came from a piece that revolved around a personal story of mine and the lessons I learned of how to be more effective in how to lead and serve those under our care.
In fact, the second most popular leadership insight also came from a personal experience, in this case from one of my daughters who took on her first leadership role last year and what that experience taught her about what it really takes to successfully lead others.
So, I’m definitely going to keep that in mind when it comes to what I plan on writing and sharing here on my leadership blog over the course of the next 12 months to come.
In the meantime, here are my Top 10 leadership insights of 2017 as chosen by you, the readers of my award-winning leadership blog. Enjoy!
Leadership Insight #10 – Becoming a leader is not about promoting yourself; it’s about helping others to succeed and thrive [Share on Twitter].
“Bringing this kind of intentionality to how we develop and support leaders is important, not only to how organizations select who will join the leadership ranks within their workplace, but in how our employees view and understand what they should expect from those in charge.
Indeed, as much as it’s critical for today’s leaders to create an environment where employees are internally driven to bring their best efforts to the work they do, it’s incumbent on those in senior leadership positions to ensure that they are providing the right guidance and support for those who will one day take their place at the helm.”
Read more on this leadership insight here: Are You Supporting Your Organization’s New Leaders To Succeed?
Leadership Insight #9 – The power to inspire others exists in all of us. We just have to choose to be present to use it [Share on Twitter].
“To illustrate what I mean by this, think about any leader who you look to as a source of inspiration. No doubt they’ve achieved remarkable things. But as you look past their achievements, what do see about them as a person? Are they someone you’d enjoy being around, someone you could learn from? Do you feel that they would see your true potential and encourage you to live up to it?
I’m sure for most of you, you’d answer in the affirmative. And this exercise reveals another important truth – to inspire others is to empower them to make that better version of themselves a reality.”
Read more on this leadership insight here: How Do You Inspire Others Through Your Leadership?
Leadership Insight #8 – To drive change, we have to craft a message that’s easy to understand, memorable and inspiring [Share on Twitter].
“One of the things every writer knows is that if you’re going to retain your audience over the long run, you need to create some form of a hook; something that’s going to motivate people to stay invested in tuning into your show every week, to picking up and finishing your book, or to reading the latest entry in your leadership blog.
Part of that hook requires that while we create this notion of a big payoff in the long run of sticking with it, there is also some tangible benefit the audience gets in the here and now. Something that reminds them of why they’re invested today and why they should continue ‘tuning in’ as things move forward.”
Read more on this leadership insight here: 3 Storytelling Elements That Successfully Drive Change
Leadership Insight #7 – Passion without purpose is a lost opportunity for us to do something that’s meaningful and enduring [Share on Twitter].
“Granted, when we start talking about creating purpose-led work, this can lead to some hesitation on the part of leaders and their organizations because of the misplaced notion that purposeful work has to be glamorous or exciting.
The truth, however, is that we don’t need work to be exciting for us to derive a sense of value or meaning from it. Rather, what’s needed is being able to see and understand for ourselves how our contributions are making a difference towards achieving our collective vision and long-term goals.
Read more on this leadership insight here: Forget Passion – What Employees Need Is Purpose- Led Work
Leadership Insight #6 – Dealing with change is more than a process; it’s an on-going journey of exploration and discovery [Share on Twitter].
“This is that roadblock that impedes so many of us from taking those critical first steps in this journey of change. As there’s no guaranteed notion of what awaits us, how can we be sure it’s worth opening the door to see what’s on the other side?
As such, the question we face is do we have the courage to change, not just today, but as we move forward? Will we treat change not merely as something we’re willing to do today, but as something we’ll embrace going forward as new realities sharpen into focus as we continue on our journey towards achieving our long-term goals?”
Read more on this leadership insight here: Do You Have The Courage To Change How You Lead?
Leadership Insight #5 – The questions we ask shape not only our conversations, but the relationships we have with others [Share on Twitter].
“If there’s one thing leaders everywhere share in common it’s working within an environment where they face increasing demands on their time and attention, while at the same being expected to make decisions as quickly as possible.
Taken together, these factors create conditions where it’s easy for leaders to resort to asking questions that require only a yes/no answer. While these answers can help us act quickly, the problem is that they lack context or insights that can help us make more effective decisions and choices going forward.”
Read more on this leadership insight here: 4 Steps To Becoming More Inquisitive As Leaders
Leadership Insight #4 – Trust is built on the belief that leaders have the best interests of others at heart [Share on Twitter].
That’s why our character is defined by the level of integrity we display – it’s not so much what you say about yourself and what you supposedly represent, but it’s the actions and behaviours you take that truly define for others who you really are and what you actually stand for.
Indeed, having integrity demonstrates that the actions you take are driven by something more than self-serving interests.
Read more on this leadership insight here: What Happened To Trust And Integrity In Today’s Organizations?
Leadership Insight #3 – Building relationships is about more than understanding others; it’s making people feel understood [Share on Twitter].
“The unfortunate truth is that we’re living in an increasingly divisive world – whether it’s because of our political viewpoints, because of our religious beliefs, or even because of where we or our parents came from.
And yet, the undeniable truth is that the longevity of today’s organizations is no longer dependent on what technologies you use, where you operate, or even what you create. Rather, your organization’s ability to adapt, evolve, and grow in today’s interconnected, global environment is dependent on the people who show up every day to help your organization move one step closer to achieving your shared purpose.”
Read more on this leadership insight here: 3 Keys For Building Relationships With Those You Lead
Leadership Insight #2 – Our ability to grow as leaders is dependent on our willingness to get feedback from those we lead [Share on Twitter].
“One of the biggest concerns (my daughter) Malaika had early on was whether she was doing enough to support the 24 camp mentors under her care. Some times, she worried that she was speaking too much and other times, she wondered if she didn’t give her team enough insight or guidance on what to do.
To address her concerns, Malaika decided to speak to some of the camp mentors she didn’t know very well to get their impressions of how she was doing. As it turned out, the camp mentors were not only happy with the job that she was doing, but they appreciated that she wanted to know what they thought.
By being pro-active in seeking feedback from her team, Malaika sent a clear message to the camp mentors that she genuinely cared about their opinions and wanted to know if her efforts were as helpful as she thought they were.”
Read more on this leadership insight here: 4 Critical Leadership Traits That Drive Success And Growth
And this leads us to my top leadership insight shared here on my leadership blog in 2017, something that comes from a story of when I failed as a leader and the powerful lesson it taught me about how to become a better leader by becoming a better listener:
Leadership Insight #1 – Listening is not simply hearing what others are saying; it’s giving them space to contribute [Share on Twitter].
“Indeed, one trait all successful leaders openly exhibit is being inquisitive; that their focus is not limited to their ideas, their stories, and their experiences. Rather, they display a genuine interest to learn about those they lead and work with; to hear their stories and experiences that have shaped and informed their understandings and perspective.
That’s why being a good listener involves shifting our focus from trying to be interesting to being interested.”
Read more on this leadership insight here: How Failure Taught Me To Become A Better Listener
And there you have it, my Top 10 Leadership Insights of 2017. It’s said that our ideas are a reflection of our times. If so, I’m looking forward to seeing what ideas come to mind in the weeks and months to come.