Best of 2015: My Top Leadership Articles of the Year

...and 3 Things I Learned Writing Them

If you’re interested in practical information on how to coach and how to develop as a leader you are at the right place! And you’re not alone. In 2015, the number of readers increased 100% and subscribers 300% over the previous year.

In 2015, I published 49 articles at I learned a number of lessons from writing them that I’m applying in other areas of my leadership. I’ll share my 3 leadership lessons below.

First, here are the top 15 most-viewed articles from in 2015:

  1. How To Get People Into Action With One Simple Question
  2. How To Stop Talking About Yourself
  3. 7 Ways to Fly First Class for Economy Prices
  4. How To Price Coaching Services Based On Value
  5. How To Find People to Coach
  6. Shorter, More Frequent Coaching Conversations Are Better
  7. 3 Reasons Not To Hire A Coach, And 5 Why You Should
  8. How to Coach The Person, Not The Problem
  9. How To Develop Young Leaders: The Little-Much Principle
  10. How To Ask Questions For Innovation
  11. How To Get Things Done: 4 Levels of Productivity
  12. How To Follow Your True Calling, Not Someone Else’s
  13. How To Choose When To Teach and When To Coach
  14. How To Turn Your Good Ideas Into Great Questions
  15. 6 Warning Signs Your Successful Leadership Needs Help

3 Leadership Lessons I Learned From Writing These Articles

1. I Needed to Develop Additional Skills To Live My Calling. I’m not naturally a good writer. Yet, the more I write, the better my writing gets. I’ve worked on improving my writing by doing 3 things:

  • Reading more, both non-fiction and fiction, paying attention to how the author communicates.
  • Keeping my self-talk positive about my writing. “People benefit from what I write. It’s worth the effort.”
  • Writing more. Practice makes perfect.

The reason I am willing to push through my weakness is because I want to get a message out. It comes down to calling. In order to live out my particular calling, I must write and speak well. Where I’m not strong in those areas, I must improve – like it or not. Living out calling will take more than just doing the things I like or am gifted in. I need to continue to develop.

In what areas do you need to develop to more fully live out your calling?

2. It’s More Often Perspiration Than Inspiration. I used to wait to write until I was inspired. The result was a constant nagging in my mind to write something good before the approaching deadline. Inspiration is a myth. Writing, as with most other work, is more perspiration than inspiration.

One of my favorite authors is Carlos Ruiz Zafón. He said it well in his book The Angel’s Game, “Inspiration comes when you stick your elbows on the table, your bottom on the chair and you start sweating. Choose a theme, an idea, and squeeze your brain until it hurts. That’s called inspiration.” My brain has been sore many times this year, including after writing some of the articles listed above.

If you want to be average, then by all means, do only the work you like, when you’re inspired.

In what areas of your work do you need more perspiration instead of waiting for inspiration?

3. A Focused Process Increases Productivity. When I began writing weekly articles, I had no process. I tried to write in between other tasks, breaking the writing into several sittings. All totaled, each article took me about 8 hours.

This year, I developed a writing process. I now spent an average of 3 hours on each article. Here’s my new process:

  • I collect ideas in Evernote in a long note called “Article Ideas.” I have other notes for “Quotes” and “Used Article Ideas.”
  • During the week, I add ideas and quotes. If I’m out walking and think of several points to expand an idea, I dictate them into the “Article Ideas” note as I walk.
  • I block Monday mornings to write because I am fresh and not yet consumed with a 100 other things.
  • I head over to Starbucks to remove distraction.
  • I shut off email and social media to maintain focus.
  • I write until I’m done. No coming back to it later. This is key – the time I need to write expands to the available time I’m willing to give to it. If I give 2 hours, somehow it gets done in 2 hours.
  • In the late afternoon, just before I click Publish, I give the article a final read-out-loud proofreading. By the way, my goal is not 100% typo-free. I’m shooting for 80%, which takes half as long as 100%. When a typo gets through, readers write and I promptly fix them.

In what areas of your work do you need to develop and commit to a focused process?

Thank you for reading, growing, and making an impact on those around you in 2015. I look forward to what we can accomplish in the world in the year ahead!

Question: Share your answers to the questions above. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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