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30 Things That Will Make You a Stronger Leader

January 18, 2019 Joe Mechlinski

SHIFT Blog - Best of 2018

A look back at the best podcasts, best business books, best free online courses, best leadership blogs and everything else that helped shape leaders in 2018.

Leadership is far from an inherited behavior; it’s a quality born from a thirst for knowledge. And in 2018, there was no shortage of outlets for leaders to immerse themselves.

From innovative books to the most thought-provoking podcasts, we’re breaking down the “best of the best” when it comes to what leaders read, watched, and listened to in 2018. These tools will help you experience remarkable growth as you enter this next chapter.

Pro Tip: Bookmark this page ☝️

Best Free Online Courses of 2018

Career progression is no longer expensive. Today, it can be free. Use these free online courses to become a master of your domain, explore alternative career paths, or simply spark inspiration.

1. edX

Flexible learning on your schedule. Access more than 1,900 online courses from 100+ leading institutions including Harvard, MIT, Microsoft, and more. Courses are free to audit; paid certification is available.

2. Udemy

Over 10,000 courses straight from the field for a free or fixed amount.

3. Coursera

Similar to edX, Coursera offers free online classes and certifications from top institutions. Courses are free to audit; however, some certification requires a fee.

MIT Management Sloan School

MIT has opened their course catalog for the world. From quantum physics to urban design, the learning possibilities are limitless (and reputable).

5. Khan Academy

Free expert-created content and resources for every course and level.

Bonus: Best Training Webinars of 2018
This year, SHIFT launched the employee engagement training webinar series. Our experts drilled into the psychology and semantics behind the most pivotal moves leaders face. Dig into the top session recordings below:

1. Productive Meetings with Andrew Freedman
2. The Future of Work with Joe Mechlinski
3. How to Reflect and Reset for Your Best Year Yet with Joe Mechlinski

4. Performance Reviews with Liz Eskenazi 
5. Become an Engagement Expert (At Work & In Life) with Joe Mechlinski 

Best Tools and Tech of 2018

The right formula for creating an agile, innovative organization starts with a willingness to embrace new ideas. Here are the top tech and tools the team at SHIFT obsessed over in 2018.

1. Slack

Resisting remote work is no longer possible; nearly half of Americans telecommute, in at least some capacity. Slack keeps teams connected and nimble, regardless of physical boundaries.

2. Appear.in

Virtual conferences, simplified!

3. Asana

More than 20 percent of employees say they’re not clear on their priorities. Gain visibility on collaborative projects and priorities with this intuitive management tool.

4. Pinkaloo
Modernizing charitable giving 👏

5. 15Five

A human-centric communication tool. Kick off critical conversations with your team every week while encouraging employees to reflect on their highs and lows.

Bonus: Listen to 15 Minutes to Unlock Your Team’s Full Potential as David Hassell, CEO of 15Five, drops key corporate culture insights on the Shift Happens podcast with Joe Mechlinski.

Best Podcasts of 2018

Podcasts have gone mainstream; in fact, Apple Podcasts passed 50 billion listenersin 2018. These intimate sessions bring the brightest minds along for your commute, cardio session, or coveted downtime. Here are the best podcasts that shaped us into stronger leaders in 2018.

1. Waking Up with Sam Harris

Join Sam Harris—neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author—as he explores some of the most important questions about the human mind, society, and current events. (Soon to be the Making Sense podcast).

2. Future of Everything

A Wall Street Journal podcast that takes an in-depth look at how science and technology are revolutionizing the way we live, work and play.

3. Joe Rogan Experience

Long form conversations with a powerful punch of comedy. 

4. Radically Agile

Sit down with executives, academics, futurists, technologists, and others to learn how to successfully navigate the shifting labor market and technologic-whirlwind the workforce is collectively experiencing.

5. Shift Happens
Join Joe Mechlinski, New York Times bestselling author and CEO of SHIFT, and today’s top icons and influencers to talk leadership, movement starting, health and wellbeing, politics, productivity and more.

Bonus: Best of Shift Happens 2018
With Season 2 coming soon, let’s look back at Shift Happen’s most downloaded podcasts.

1. Universal Basic Income with Andrew Yang

2. Timing is Everything with Dan Pink 
3. Willpower Isn't Enough with Ben Hardy 
4. Scoring in Basketball Brings Success to Business with Alan Stein 
5. Three Ways to Financial Freedom with Garrett Gunderson

Best Books of 2018

1. Extreme Ownership by Jacko Willink and Leif Babin
The mindset and principles that enable Navy SEALs to accomplish the most difficult missions in combat and how to apply them to any team, family or organization.

Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse
Finite games are the familiar contests of everyday life; they are played in order to be won, which is when they end. But infinite games are more mysterious. Their object is not winning, but ensuring the continuation of play.

Understanding Understanding by Richard Saul Wurman
Want to better unpack the simple, yet complex act of truly “understanding” an idea? There’s few better to ask than the creator of TED.

4. Thank You For Being Late by Thomas L. Friedman
Take an intrinsic look at where we are and how we got here with this #1 New York Times Bestseller.

Shift The Work by Joe Mechlinski
This 2x bestseller is filled with actionable strategies and inspiring true stories to motivates readers to seek more fulfilling opportunities, reconnect with passions, and recognize their power to make a difference.

Bonus:  Fill your library with these 23 bestselling books that will inspire you to change the world.

Best Leadership Blogs of 2018

This year, a clear theme emerged in our favorite sources for news and insights: the future. Use these top blogs to embrace the innovation and impact taking place this very moment (and use these teachings to propel your organization into the future of work).

1. Futurism

An exploration into all things STEM.

2. Farnam Street 

For those in pursuit of a meaningful life.

3. Abundance Insider
For leaders who embrace innovation.

4. FiveThiryEight

Politics, economics, science, life, sports.

5. SHIFT Blog
Look at you, ahead of the curve 😉

Bonus: We’re given away a copy of the SHIFT Declarations + Manifestos Vol 2. to the first three readers that email team@shiftthework.com. This limited edition book is derived from the SHIFT blog and serves as a guiding light for business leaders seeking their most informed, empowered selves.

Be Brave Make Bold Shifts
Want a free copy? Be among the first three to email team@shiftthework.com.

Best Self-Care Tools of 2018

At SHIFT, we like to say, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” As leaders for your company, employees, and community — your mental and physical wellbeing must be a priority. Use these top self-care products and tools to show up as your best self each day.

1. Swanwick Glasses 
At our recent All Hands meeting, employees received Swanwick Glasses blue light blocking glasses to promote more restful, healing sleep.

2. FutureMe

Reflection is a critical aspect of your mental well-being. While the concept of writing a virtual letter to yourself may (initially) feel frivolous, we’ve found it has the power to spark purposeful mental check-ins.

3. The RESET Proclamation 
This annual planning practice has quickly become SHIFT’s most celebrated tool.


Using technology to make meditation easy.

5. The Five Minute Journal
A psychology-backed journal that promises to be the best way to start your day.

Bonus:  Discover food that fuels you with an introduction to KETO and clean eating with Dr. Stephanie Estima on the Shift Happens podcast.

Looking to What’s Ahead

With the tools to shape us into the leaders we aspire to be, we can move into 2019 more present, innovative, and driven than ever before. Progress is an everyday battle. We must always be open to learning, to growing, to defying the limits.

To keep this momentum going, the team at SHIFT remains steadfast and dedicated to delivering remarkable experiences each day. We’re helping our clients reawaken the dreary-eyed American workforce and re-inspire their employees.

Because when employees are engaged at work, they arrive home happier, healthier, and more fulfilled. This is the spark we believe business can ignite to create meaningful change in the world.

But to get there, we must always be students to the world around us.

What Skills Do You Need to Build in 2019?

SHIFT is on a mission to deliver the most potent, purposeful leadership development tools possible — but we need your help. Take this 30-second survey to share what skills/topics you need to study to be a successful leader in 2019. Your answers will help us create more impactful training webinars in 2019.

What training webinar topics would you like to see?

TOPICS: High Performance, Leadership Development