The Posts Managers Like You Loved the Most in 2020

What did you learn this year?

Resilience? Adaptability? How to do more with less? How to manage your psyche and build new habits?

For all of us, 2020 is one for the history books. It feels like more eventful, life marking things happened this year than the last 5 combined.

And through it all, we’ve been here trying to help you be the best manager you can be, no matter what challenges you’ve faced this year.

As we do every year, we take a minute to look back at what posts you and other managers loved most. Take a minute to revisit your favorites, or be sure to check out any you missed.

And of course, if you think it will benefit a colleague or friend, please share the post.

The Posts Managers like You Loved Most in 2020

Knowing everything we all faced this year, many of these posts on managing through crises, and being a great remote leader should not surprise anyone that they made the list.

You’ll also see a few posts that cover timeless topics that every manager should keep in mind.

Click on the posts you’re most interested in, and give them a share if they helped you this year.

1) 11 Tips for Managing Remote Employees

I hear a few people shifted to remote work this year?

Not surprisingly, this post, which I originally wrote reflecting on my time working at a remote companies between 2011 and 2014, became *very* popular when COVID lockdowns hit.

If you’re new to managing a remote team, this post will give you the fundamentals you need. It’s also been updated multiple times over the years to give you an up to date look at all the challenges and opportunities of remote management.

Read all 11 tips, plus recent research and tips on managing remote employees here.

2) Crisis Leadership: 18 Questions to Ask Your Team to Thrive in Difficult Times

Along with working remotely, many of us had to lead through a major crisis for our company; suddenly, with COVID lockdowns, many businesses had all or a significant portion of their revenue disappear.

Even for companies in relatively safe industries, there was still what I would call “The Great Q2 Pause” when almost everyone stopped spending money in March, April, and May. It wasn’t really until July and August that most companies started spending money again.

Regardless of the kind of crisis you face, you need to involve your team in the process. Most employees will both want to know what’s going on *and* help be a part of the solution.

However, you won’t get the best ideas unless you engage your team, which is why we pulled together this crisis leadership post to help you have this important conversation with everyone on your team.

Learn what the 18 questions are to ask your team during a crisis here.

3) The 8 Best Professional Goals for Managers

Many of our posts are inspired by conversations we have with managers. Whether it’s a blog reader, or Lighthouse customer, we’re always listening.

This post came directly from a manager telling us they were having a hard time coming up with their own professional goals after doing so for their team. We were happy to help.

Becoming a manager requires a whole new sets of skills to be mastered, and many are kind of vague. What really are soft skills? How do I become a multiplier instead of trapped in incremental individual contributor work?

That’s why we wrote this post.

Whether you’re looking to make your own plan, or you manage managers, you can come up with a clear plan to help a manager grow. Because not only does this help managers grow, but it sets a great example to your team that professional goals are for everyone.

Learn the 8 best professional goals for managers here, and consider picking 1 or 2 for you in the new year.

4) How to Become a Manager: A Guide for Leaders

Building on the last article, this one specifically focuses on what new managers must learn.

One of the most unfortunate things I’ve discovered in the 6+ years of working on Lighthouse is that the majority of managers get *less support* after they’re promoted to manager.

Because of this, we try to provide a lot of content to help you learn on your own; for many of you, that’s all you have.

This post is the guide I wish someone gave me when I started being interested in managing people, and can also be a guide for those of you managing managers who want to be the rare type who provide more support when it’s needed most.

Learn how to become a manager here.

5) 74 Questions to Ask in One on Ones with a Manager

We spend a lot of time on the blog helping you focus on your employees: what they need, what to ask them, making ICs successful, etc.

Equally important is what to talk about with a manager.

Whether you’re trying to better manage up, or you now have managers reporting to you that you need to support, guide, and get perspective from, the right questions can make all the difference.

That’s why we have dozens of questions for both of those situations in this post, which you can read all 74 questions to ask in one on ones with managers here.

6) 36 Military Leader Quotes Any Manager Can Learn From

I’ve always loved collecting quotes. Whether it’s a truth cutting quote from Winston Churchill, or a great insight from a CEO or founder, there’s something magical about the right wording or phrasing to capture an insight.

In the world of business, there are often analogies used to teach key lessons. The two places those lessons most commonly come from are sports and the military.

The latter is why we pulled together quotes from military leaders that are applicable away from the battlefield.

Whether you’re a history buff, have great affinity for our military, or looking for some quotes you can add to your collection, this list of 36 military quotes is worth a read here.

7) 31 Questions to Ask Remote Employees to Better Support Them

Wouldn’t it be great if managing remotely was exactly the same as managing in an office? Unfortunately, in reality, they’re very different.

That’s why we pulled together questions you should uniquely ask to better manage your remote team members.

There’s so much you miss out on by being remote, both as a manager trying to understand how your team is doing, and as an employee trying to stay connected and work effectively.

Try some of these 31 questions to ask remote employees, and you may be surprised what you learn and can apply. And if you want these questions and hundreds more always at your fingertips in your 1 on 1s, then sign up for a free trial of our software, Lighthouse, here.

8) 6 Questions You Must Ask When Managing a New Team

Taking over a team is always a challenge whether you’re a brand new manager, or you were hired into a company to take over a team.

Every employee has a different personality, and you have no idea the good, bad, and ugly of what the last manager did with the team. You could just as easily be following a saint as the devil.

With that in mind, the best thing you can do is *ask* the team.

Especially when you start out, you’re much more likely to get the benefit of the doubt from your team; they haven’t sized you up yet, and so they’re more likely to give you a shot by telling you like it is.

And the best way to make the most of that early honesty is to use it to ask the questions that will help you best manage them. Lucky for you, we pulled them all together for you, along with explanations so it’s easy for you to follow.

Ask these 6 questions when managing a new team, and absolutely wow them from Day 1. (Really, a manager used them and told us a team member said, “Wow. I’ve never had a manager ask questions like these. I’m really glad you asked.”)

9) The 10 Best Books for New Managers on Leadership and Self-Improvement

What’s on your gift list this year? What are you getting for the managers in your life?

We often get asked what books we recommend for managers, and always love encouraging the habit of reading. That’s why we pulled this post together so you can pick out the perfect book for yourself or another manager who wants to learn and level up.

It’s a great mix of timeless classics and key, modern lessons, so there’s something for everyone at every stage.

Find out what the 10 best books for managers are here.


What did you learn this year? What do you want us to write about next year?

Leave a comment or send us an email, and you may inspire the next post we write. We’re always listening and happy to help.