The January 2013 Leadership Development Carnival: Best of 2012 Edition

Welcome to The January 2013 Leadership Development Carnival: Best of 2012 Edition!

Each of the leadership bloggers below were asked to submit their best (i.e., favorite, most popular) post from 2012, along with why it was the best.

For most Carnivals, I’d suggest that readers just skim the headlines and pick and choose from the list. However, for this special edition, why not read them ALL? After all, for a typical blogger that cranks out at least 100 posts a year, you’ll be reading the top 1% of over 3500 posts! I’d say that’s pretty darn efficient leadership development.

So here they are, in the order they were submitted. There were a few that missed the “best of” theme, but are included anyways. Please pardon the patchwork colors and fonts – it may not be pretty, but it sure is good stuff!

“This post was my most popular (generated the most comments) and is one of my favorite posts from this past year. In it I present very new insights (for me!) on the health of organizational culture: civility (basic “niceness;” no yelling, cursing, or tantrums – yet a stretch for many organizations because civility is NOT the norm), then acknowledgement (active recognition of effort, accomplishment, and demonstration of desired values), to the highest level of cultural health, validation (proactive, explicit valuing of team members’ ideas, skills, enthusiasm, work ethic, and cooperation).”
Anne Perschel, from Germane Insights, picked Dear CEO: What’s Your 400 Year Business Plan?
“What can leaders learn from the makers of fine cognac? How to grow a company that remains healthy long into the future. This post begins by considering the 400 year forest management plans that produce trees for making cognac barrels. Sip slowly and enjoy the read.”
“This is my favorite because it addresses fear, a huge negative (and silent) driver that keeps leaders from speaking up against injustice, lack of ethics, morality issues and other things that damage individuals and people in our organizations. Leaders must learn to recognize their fear when it surfaces and ask themselves several questions – provided in the article –  and one very important question in order to take action against negative influences at work.”
“It may not have been my most popular… but I think it’s ‘best’ because it’s a simple message… but one that too many of us forget. I firmly believe that if we redeployed even a fraction of the time and energy we spend focusing on failure toward learning from success, we’d get a lot farther faster.”
Believe it or not, this is my number one leadership/management related post. There are very fine lines between being a tough boss, a jerk manager and a bully.”
Bernd Geropp, from More Leadership, picked What makes a great business vision statement? 
“In my opinion having a vision is crucial for a leader.
A true vision shows that the leader and the company strive to solve a meaningful problem.
It is not about money, it is about solving a problem which makes the world a better place.
I believe the included video helps that this post is one of my most popular ones.”
“One of my most popular posts, and one that expresses an important essence of leadership. We want to follow people with confidence, charisma and a strong sense of direction.  Confidence inspires, attracts, excites and ignites.  We think, “they sure do seem to know what they’re doing…”  And yet, I have observed that confidence, without humility, can be dangerous.  I have seen it significantly limit a leader’s effectiveness.  They stay their course, but may miss important input.  People may follow, but not with their full spirit.  Truly confident leaders are secure enough to embrace and share their humility.  In the long run, their humility makes them stronger.”
I’m feeling exhausted and burned out, but I’m afraid to slow down. What should I do? Here are three ways to get yourself back on track: (1) Schedule yourself first, (2) Set and maintain boundaries, (3) Monitor overload warnings.”
“Here’s a few simple ideas for achieving more balance in our worlds and our lives.”
Linda Fisher Thornton, from Leading in Context, picked What is Creativity?
“What is Creativity?” was the most popular post of 2012 on the Leading in Context Blog. It explores the variables that make up what we call creativity, and investigates whether it is a skill or a mindset.”
Here’s my own favorite from 2012,  10 Simple “Truths” about Management vs. Leadership. Although one of my shorter posts, it took a long time to write, and represents over 20 years of experience and learning about leadership.

Tom Magness, from Leader Business, picked March Tables.
“It is a leadership lesson from my days as a young lieutenant.  Timeless lessons about…time!”
Bill Matthies, from Business Wisdom, picked Stagnant Thinking.
“Real change stems from the ability to alter one’s views. The next time you find yourself in a heated discussion with a co-worker, remember this.  If you can’t change your mind, what can you change?”  
“I chose this post not just because it elicited strong interest from readers in many countries, but because it may help foster personal reflection and inquiry at the start of 2013. Malala Yousafzai is still healing physically and emotionally from her wounds, yet her courage and perseverance to her cause- that girls in Pakistan have the right to education and to be safe while doing so –  is a testimony to true leadership. And it’s why I chose her as the top leader in my Leadership 2012 blog post (which I’ll release on January 7). The book is not closed on Malala. Expect to hear much more from her in 2013.”
Determining which post deserves the honor of being selected the best of the year, isn’t easy. As did the other candidates, this post presented an important leadership lesson.  But, in addition, it has the added value of a cute video with a baby porcupine (demonstrating that effort without the proper insight is often wasted); that proved

enough to allow the post to edge out the others.”

“Being a good coach means putting others before yourself and always making decisions for the good of the team.  Here are eight tips on how to take coaching principles into the workplace in order to be an employee-focused leader, it all starts with listening.”
Mark Stelzner, from inflexionadvisors, picked 5 Career Lessons From The Road.
“I believe that real life experience often serves up the best advice and this particular flight (plus a little eavesdropping) served as great inspiration.”
David Burkus, from Leaderlab (next month’s Carnival host), picked Strategy is About Choice.
“It was one of the most read pieces in 2012 and the one with the most active discussion BY FAR, on how developing strategy is just as much about what you choose not to pursue.”
Eric Pennington, from The Epic Living Blog, picked An Early Morning in June.
“This post is my best/favorite for 2012 because it reveals much about me and gave my readers a since of my heart and experiences. The readers got to see clearly that experiences shape a true mission.”
“I remain convinced that the leaders of tomorrow are those who are best able to lead with accountability and often without authority in distributed and heavily matrixed environments. These “integrator leaders” must survive on their ability to build temporary coalitions, cultivate a shared vision, and drive results all without the hire/fire/promote authority that traditional organizational leaders have enjoyed. Blend in the need to be able to do all of this across time-zones and cultures, and you can see why those who master the art of leading in the matrix are increasingly in demand.”
“This past year saw the passing of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon and a true American hero. In one of his most widely read and tweeted posts, Randy shares five leadership lessons from the life and career of Armstrong.”
Wally Bock, from Three Star Leadership, picked Magical Bosses.

“Great bosses get results that often seem magical. But there’s method to the magic and you can learn it.”
“Power has gotten a bum rap of being all ego-centric and self-serving. Hooey. One can do well, show kindness and be as powerful as all get-out. Dare to be kind.” As my most read post of 2012, I’m delighted that others agree!”
Mike Henry Sr., from Lead Change Group, picked Playing the Part of a Leader (by Alan Derek Utley). 


“Alan Utley challenged us to avoid the temptation to simply “go through the motions” of leadership. We can’t simply act the part.  We must “be the leader.” Simply acting like a leader won’t get it. He proposed 6 things we must do to “be” a genuine leader.”

Neal Burgis, Ph.D. picked Happy New Year: Holiday Challenge for 2013.

“This is my best work as it relates to the brand new year of 2013. Having 12 fresh approaches for your leadership & organization, helps move you to thrive instead of just surviving. This article helps you set a new goal
for the next 12 months. Follow them for the success you want. Every new day gives you a chance to move forward from your present situation. You can improve your business on a number of fronts. To help launch the New Year for your business, the following are 12 ways you can move your organization forward.”

Chris Young, from Human Capital Strategy Blog, picked When Emotion Becomes Leadership’s Biggest Enemy.
“This post stands out to me because emotion is the challenge I must overcome most often.  Here are 5 things that I have found to be effective in keeping emotion controlled in myself and those around me.”
Mary Ila Ward, from Horizon Point Consulting, picked Pot, Meet Kettle.
“This was the most viewed post of 2012 for Horizon Point’s blog.  It speaks to the fact that what annoys or angers us most in others is the flaws we also see in ourselves.  It also gives tips for recognizing these flaws and correcting them in order to be better leaders.”
“This was the 2nd most popular with my readers according to the combined number of shares on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, but the excellent discussion and reader comments added so much value that I consider it my best post. We are being called on more and more to collaborate across reporting lines and work with people we don’t have direct authority over. How to influence in these kinds of situations is such a timely and important topic.”
“I chose this post for two reasons: first because it’s aligned with the core purpose  of the Leadership Development Carnival – providing tips for how to develop your team members’ leadership abilities on a daily basis. Secondly, this post-within-in-a-post addresses another key aspect of leadership development – shoring up emerging leaders’ belief in their abilities.”
“My best 2012 was a huge debate!  As change begins “with me”, many of my posts are focused on self-development.  This post focuses on the life-changing difference we can make for individuals and our organizations when we focus on developing others.”

Joan Kofodimos, from Anyone Can Lead, picked The End of Men…as Leaders?
“In 2012, the old debates about gender and leadership were reincarnated in a big way – from Sheryl Sandberg’s TED talk claiming there aren’t enough women leaders because they don’t want it enough, to Anne-Marie Slaughter’s rejoinder in The Atlantic arguing that it’s impossible to have it all, to Hanna Rosin’s controversial book The End of Men. In this blog post, I try to tease out the implications for those of us, men and women alike, who want to survive and thrive in the organizations of the future.”

“While we work to be productive in what we do, we also want more. We want to feel valued, listened to, and called upon to do ordinary and extraordinary things. In this post, I discuss how we can begin to do just that.”

Susan Mazza, from Random Acts of Leadership, picked The Secret to Being Effective. 
“This post in particular was shared quite a lot through social media channels.  My clients have shared that this “One Secret” was a key lesson from me in our work together this year.”
Mark Miller, from Great Leaders Serve, picked Simplify.
“It was one of the most popular posts to appear on  in 2012. I think it’s a valuable addition to the carnival because the best leaders are gifted at simplifying things. This post shares some examples of how leaders do that every day.”
Miki Saxon, from MAPping Company Success  gives us Ducks in a Row: Managing Weeds.

“Most stars are made, not born, which means that the quality of a team reflects the quality of its management. Managers should consult the mirror when considering an under-performing employee.”

Jon Ingram, from Strategic HCM, closes out the Carnival with Engagement or Entwistle
I hope you enjoyed this “best of” edition of the Carnival!