What are managers and leaders like you most interested in learning about? What topics should you not miss as you start the New Year off on the right foot?
We write about what leaders like you tell us you're looking for help with. Nearly 90% of all posts we write come directly from emails or comments from our blog subscribers, or those of our customers for our product, Lighthouse.
2017 was another great year for leaders. We're proud to have helped them have stronger, more effective relationships with their teams, leading to higher morale and productivity.
Today, we look back at the posts you all found most helpful in the past year based on social shares and total reads. If you like one of our posts, or find it helpful, please share it!
The Lighthouse Posts Leaders Learned the Most from in 2017
Looking at the data, it's clear that our readers continue to love learning from us. Whether that's a "How to" post, example questions to ask yourself or others, or compiling a case for or against something, every post that did well fit into one or more of those categories.
With that in mind, let's get into it. [Ed. Note: Clicking the titles of the 5 sections will open that post in a new tab.]
Not that long ago, flat organizations were all the rage. Companies like Buffer, Zappos, and Medium were proudly getting rid of managers. They wrote open letters and blog posts explaining how great the utopian, manager-less world would be.
Unfortunately, reality bit back hard, and they all suffered. It turns out, once you pass about 50 employees, clearly defined hierarchy can be crucial to communication and decision making. Bad managers are the enemy, not managers in general.
In a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bath water, companies that got rid of managers found out why they need them.
In our post on Flat Organizations, we share specific cases where companies had to abandon their flat structures. Fortunately, many of them wrote public mea culpas, so you can read their full posts from our links for further reading there as well.
- As your organization grows, you'll face new challenges. One of the biggest is when you reach 25 employees, which we share what to do when that happens.
We talk about the poor engagement rate in workplaces regularly. Unfortunately, with the national rate hanging around 30-35%, it's more likely your company has morale issues than not.
When you're in that situation, it can be both frustrating and leave you feeling helpless. There's much that's beyond your control and you may be watching your team members check out and take other jobs.
Regardless, there is hope. As the Andy Grove quote above reminds us, as a manager there are many things you can do no matter what else is happening at your company.
In our second most-shared post of the year, we give you some great, actionable advice, and stories from leaders you'll recognize all to help you know exactly what to do when you are facing low morale issues.
- Unfortunately, when you lose one person, it's often the first of many. In one of our most popular classic posts, we share why employees leave in waves and what to do about it.
It's amazing how powerful two words can be. "Learned helplessness" paints such a vidid picture of a painful problem so many people have experienced at work.
If you've ever been crushed by things at work that affect you every day, but you have zero control over, you know what Learned Helplessness is all about. While, a few days of it can happen and you'll be fine, when it happens month after month, or longer, you'll become increasingly depressed and disengaged.
Our post digs into what can cause you or your team to experience learned helplessness, and most importantly, what you can do to combat the issue.
- The most important person to influence someone's engagement is their manager. We've looked at the evidence to prove this twice, so check out why and what to do about it in our post:
- Employees quit managers not companies.
This is a unique post in that it wasn't inspired by a manager's question, or any bit of research I read about. Instead, this post came from an email conversation with a Venture Capitalist who asked, "Do you have good, leading indicators of culture?"
Too often, for an investor, they do not know about culture issues until the problems are catastrophic like the Uber scandals, Zenefits fraud, or Enron crimes. They'd like to do more to help, but it's hard when you're only getting some monthly or quarterly information.
Now, most of us aren't investors with multi-million dollar funds, but we are investors of our time. The company you choose to work for is a critical decision for the prospects of your career, and happiness day to day.
As an investor, founder, or advisor, these questions are perfect for you to evaluate how a company is doing based on their habits and thoughtfulness around culture. If you're an employee, or prospective one, these are great questions to ask if you're deciding to join a company.
- We emphasize how important your manager is to your career success and work happiness, so the perfect sister post to this one is our post of questions to ask in an interview to ensure you have a good manager.
5) Questions to Ask in Any Kind of 1 on 1
It turns out, you love questions. Over and over, we see how powerful it is to give you ideas for what to talk about.
No meeting is this more true than in your 1 on 1s. That's why as we've expanded Lighthouse to support & improve a variety of 1 on 1s (like Skip Level 1 on 1s), we've also given you a variety of posts to give you questions to ask in these crucial meetings.
As your responsibilities grow and change, the most important subjects to discuss change, too. That's why we've compiled unique sets of questions for a variety of situations:
- One on one meeting questions great managers ask their teams
- 96 Questions to ask in one on one meetings with your managers
- 66 Questions to ask in skip level one on ones meetings
While not all of those questions posts were part of 2017, we see them referenced over and over. Try a few in your 1 on 1s in the new year and you may be surprised the impact.