The January Leadership Development Carnival: Best of 2011 Edition

Happy New Year, and welcome to the January, 2012 Leadership Development Carnival!

This month’s edition is a special “Best of 2011” collection of leadership development blog posts from many of our regular Carnival contributors. Similar to last year’s “Best of” edition, I didn’t pick them myself – instead, I asked each contributor to submit their own “best” post, along with an explanation as to why it’s their best.

Great stuff – and I really enjoyed the author’s commentary on why they picked them. After four years of hosting this Leadership Development Carnival, I’m proud to have gotten to know these awesome bloggers and am inspired by their writing.

What a way to start the New Year – I hope you enjoy!

1. Sharlyn Lauby, HR Bartender: The Definition of Leadership.

Reason: ” A terrific discussion in the comments on whether we should continue to compare management and leadership”.

2. Mark Stelzner, Inflexion Point: How To Talk To A CEO.

Reason: “One of my most popular of 2011 and seems to have universal appeal (given how so many individuals are challenged to prepare for and successfully execute against this nerve-wracking experience).”

3. Mary Jo Asmus, Mary Jo Asmus: 30 Overlooked Acts of Leadership Courage.

Reason:  “This was my most read post this year. For some reason, every month or so, it seems to make the rounds again and get reignited in social media. I think this happens because we don’t consider the acts listed as “courageous” but see them as everyday occurrences when in reality in our business world many of them are uncommon, and we want to see more of these things from our leaders. “

4. Laura Schroeder, Working Girl: On Leadership and Stinky Fish.

Reason: “This leadership development post was one of the most fun to write.  It has it all: leaders, stinky fish, a funny picture, a bit of personal history and a moral.”

5. Tim Vanderpyl, The LeaderLab (submitted by David Burkus): Save a Tree, Stop Strategic Planning.

Reason: “This was our most read piece of original content published in 2011”.

6. Anne Perschel, Germane Insights: The Narcissistic Leader: How and Why We Choose Them.

Reason: “I’m writing about Narcissistic Leaders this month and holding others accountable for asking them to lead. This one’s been a big hit.”

7. Jennifer V. Miller, The People Equation: Making the Most of Leadership Assessments.

Reason: “I see it as a good “fit” for the core purpose of Dan’s Great Leadership blog: leadership development.  It was also one of The People Equation’s top five most-read posts from 2011.”

8. Miki Saxon, MAPping Company Success: Ducks In A Row: Carrots vs. Acknowledgements.

Reason: “I like this post because I find that too many managers don’t stop and give thought to            the difference between rewards, i.e., carrots and acknowledgement. And the difference is critical for any manager/leader who is responsible for motivating people, whether a team or the whole company.”

9. Jane Perdue, LeadBIG, All the broken leaders.

Reason: “Sometimes there’s a hangover from things in our past of which we’re not fully aware. That became true for me as I wrote this post. Writing evoked many painful memories of that 10-month period, yet revisiting the pain was healing, too. Many of us learned invaluable leadership lessons via a pair of very negative role models. While the post generated online comments, what moved me most were the off-line one-on-one emails it spawned. It seems “The Fixer” is universal, and people had awesome stories of learnings and positive change to share.”

10. Jesse Lyn Stoner, Jesse Lyn Stoner BlogDiagnose and Cure Team Drift (published in Harvard Business Review blog).

Reason: “This post tackles an important, little-talked about issue for teams – “team drift.”  While major changes alert us that we might be off course, “team drift” occurs as a result of a series of small things, each insignificant on its own, the total of which has accumulative impact. Teams usually just slowly continue to drift off course, not even aware of what’s happening. This post lists 7 warning signs of “team drift” and the 4 steps to address it.”

11. Lynn Dessert, Elephants at Work: Do I have to sign my termination or separation agreement?

Reason: “This is the most read post of Elephants at Work since its inception and continues to be the #1 post for 2011.”

12. Anna Farmery, The Engaging Brand: The Confused Employee.

Reason: “It was the most popular post of the year.”

13. Eric Pennington, Epic LivingThe Power of Courage.

Reason: “This post is my favorite because addresses what I need to understand as well as what will be needed in spades in the not-so distant future. I am an experiential writer after all. J”

14. Guy Farmer, Unconventional TrainingLeadership Training: Are You an Insecure Leader?

Reason: “I’ve trained many leaders and employees over the years and I keep hearing about insecure leaders working out their stuff on everyone and making everyone miserable. This post highlights the importance of leaders working on themselves first so they can treat people well, lead more effectively and create happy workplaces.”

15. Nick McCormick, Joe and Wanda on Management: Are Your Goals HARD?

Reason: “Here’s a podcast I did with Mark Murphy back in May. It’s especially appropriate for this time of year as it is on goal setting…”

16. Wally Bock, Three Star Leadership: Simple Leadership Lessons from George Marshall

Reason: “The anniversary of Allied invasion of Normandy, D-Day, June 6, 1944 is agood time to reflect on the leadership lessons we can learn from GeorgeC. Marshall, whom Churchill described as “The Architect ofVictory.” We can learn a lot from the way he did his job.”

17. Wally Bock, Results vs. Activities: Leadership Development without the Straight Lines

Reason: “You won’t find a straight line in nature. In fact, the only place youfind straight lines is in artificial things, like books and theories onleadership development. We’ve got to change that.”

18. Scott Eblin, Next Level BlogWhat I Learned About Leadership from the Dalai Lama.

Reason: “Seeing the Dalai Lama in person was a rare opportunity and one that exceeded my expectations.  I really like this post because it does a nice job of capturing my experience of seeing him in person in his role as a political and spiritual leader.  I also loved all the comments that readers left about their own direct and indirect experience with the Dalai Lama and the general sense of agreement that his approach to leadership would make a big difference in the world.”

19. Meg Bear (submitted by Mark Bennett), TalentedAppsReady now! Does Succession Planning backfire?

Reason: “This post encourages leaders to take a “big picture” view of succession planning and not get lost in the narrow, risk-averse view that it will just result in your talented people leaving. It got a lot of views, “likes”, and positive comments.”

20. Dan McCarthy, Great Leadership: 10 Mistakes Every Leader Should Make (and learn from) before They Die.

Reason: “I had fun writing this one and it seemed to resonate with readers based on the amount of Twitter traffic. Being willing and able to admit your mistakes – and learn from them – is one of the most effective ways to develop as a leader.”

Regular monthly submissions:

While that’s it for our “Best of 2011” edition, I’m still getting posts from the old Blog Carnival site, which I can’t seem to disable. Here’s a handful that I thought were worth including:

Jim Taggart presents Are YOU an Authentic Leader? posted at ChangingWinds, saying, “We’ve heard statements that leaders are born. Others argue that leaders can be developed. Well, how about going back in time to hear from Aristotle:

“From the moment of their birth, some are marked for subjugation, and others for command.”

Well, that may not be all that helpful, especially when the general consensus now is that leaders can be developed.”

Utpal Vaishnav presents You Don’t Need Your Own Business to Become an Entrepreneur posted at Utpal Vaishnav, saying, “You were born as an entrepreneur and you’re already an entrepreneur regardless of anything, no matter whether you run your own business or not.”

Linda Fisher Thornton presents New Years 2012: Questions For Leaders posted at Leading in Context LLC.

Katie Sorene presents 10 Volunteer Programs to Improve Your Leadership Skills posted at Travel Blog – Tripbase, saying, “A selection of volunteer programs to improve your leadership skills including teaching orphans in Sri Lanka, elephant conservation in Thailand and coaching soccer in Cameroon.”

Lisa Kohn presents Leadership lessons of a stomach bug posted at The Thoughtful Leaders Blog, saying, “How can a stomach virus possibly be a good thing? How can it yield inspiration for a thoughtful leadership lesson? Read on to see what I’ve learned from the stomach bug!”

S. Chris Edmonds presents Be A Values-Aligned Leader posted at Driving Results Through Culture, saying, “Blanchard’s culture guru S. Chris Edmonds shares the best practices of values-aligned leaders.”

Bob Lieberman presents The Sorcerer’s Apprentice posted at Cultivating Creativity – Adaptive Leadership Strategies.

Alicia Arnold presents Three Things Strategy Isn’t posted at Daily Creativity.