As the year draws to a close, I thought I'd look back at the stories that stood out and most resonated with my readers, involving some of the biggest names in business. You'll find great  leadership lessons here to move you forward in 2018. 

1. Steve Jobs: Hire smart people. Then let them tell you what to do. 

Jobs not only understood this principle, he made it a hiring practice at Apple when he famously quipped, "It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do." There's a term for the type of people Jobs is referencing: knowledge workers, which I describe in the piece. 

2. Jack Ma: If you want to be respected in the age of machines, you'll need this new skill.

While high-profile thought leaders debate whether emotional intelligence (EQ) is better than IQ as a predictor of job success, billionaire Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group (frequently referred to as the "Amazon of China"), introduces a rising leadership skill that just may trump EQ and IQ.

3. Jeff Weiner: Appreciate three things we often take for granted: health, love, and time.

That was actually a tweet by Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, sometime back in September. But as you dig deeper into this story, you begin to clearly see how those three principles have profoundly shaped Weiner's successful work and life.

4. Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Warren Buffett agree: You'll need this skill to be successful.

This is a look back at what the three billionaires have said about communication's being a necessity for the success of their businesses. And research agrees: Eight-five percent of financial success is a result of the ability to effectively communicate in both your speaking and listening.

5. The only sustainable leadership model for the future of work, as illustrated by 10 top CEOs. 

My research of the most relevant "servant leader" CEOs of the present era led me to compile this Top 10 list that has, since publication, garnered considerable press. Some of these names are newcomers; others are fixtures of the servant leadership movement; all are worthy of this list.

6. Google shares five lessons that will give your organization an edge in management training and development.

For starters, it's a mistake to think a high-performing individual contributor will necessarily make a good manager. Leading people requires a certain skill set, one that many good employees don't possess.

7. Richard Branson: Encourage and celebrate failure.

The founder of Virgin Group shares three of his most valuable lessons, which have to do with understanding the human experience at work so that employees thrive and businesses profit.

8. Tim Cook: A recipe for personal and career success.

Having moved up the ranks since he joined Apple in 1998, Cook, its CEO, gave a compelling piece of advice that I break down further because, in all its simplicity, it seems almost like an anomaly to the conventional wisdom of sacrifice and hard work.

9. Chip Bergh: The antidote to a toxic workplace.

Bergh, chief executive of Levi Strauss & Co., told The New York Times that there's one leadership practice that will quell a toxic work culture in which you find drama, politics, and people at odds with one another. 

6 Books Every Leader Should Read Over the Holidays
Published on: Dec 22, 2017