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As a leadership and culture coach, I’m always on the lookout for new inspiration and tools for helping others improve leadership. Learning about other people’s experiences, strategies, and ideas about leadership can generate awesome insight!
Here are some TED talks that “package” what makes great leaders into concise, informative speeches.
1. John Clarkson, “How Should A CEO Lead? A Musical Exploration”
- In this TED talk, John Clarkson, former CEO of The Boston Consulting Group, creates various musical analogies for strong leadership. He goes through a few comparisons, pointing out what does and doesn’t work with them, before settling on one that makes so much sense, you’ll be surprised you never thought of it.
2. Simon Sinek, “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe”
- Management theorist Simon Sinek affirms that building and creating trust is the foundation of any good leader, but requires a lot of responsibility. In this talk, Sinek breaks down how to improve leadership by cultivating a trusting work environment, and how this environment is crucial to creating strong workers and leaders. It makes a lot of sense… after all, trust and accountability are the cornerstones of strong leadership.
3. Dan Ariely, “What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?”
- All of us have, at one point, wondered what exactly it is that’s so fulfilling about our work. Luckily, we have Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist, to break it down for us. He understands that no one is purely motivated by a paycheck alone, and things such as pride and creativity are as motivating. He understands that being challenged is crucial to feeling satisfied at work, and that simply sitting around doing nothing won’t lead to feelings of fulfillment. In 20 minutes, Ariely manages to encapsulate everything we feel about our jobs — and he’s funny, to boot!
4. Shawn Achor, “The Happy Secret To Better Work”
- In the same vein as Ariely, psychologist Shawn Achor explores what it means to be happy in your job. Surprisingly, he discusses how it isn’t our work that affects our happiness, but the other way around. Achor believes if we’re happy, we’re more inclined to work harder, meaning our mindset directly affects our work. As a proponent of “positive psychology,” Achor discusses how our happiness levels and our work are inherently bound together. I believe happiness in the workplace is essential to emotional connection and engagement, so I was excited to listen to Achor’s ideas about how happiness can positively affect work and improve leadership.
5. Charlene Li, “Efficient Leadership in the Digital Era”
- At a TED event curated in partnership with IBM, Charlene Li uses her knowledge as a CEO and Principal Analyst at the Altimeter Group to explore how we can be better leaders in this new, digital era. She recognizes that innovation and quick decisions have become more crucial to successful businesses than ever before, and in her speech breaks down how empowering employees can help foster better decision making.
6. Ricardo Semler, “How To Run A Company With (Almost) No Rules”
- Brazilian CEO Ricardo Semler doesn’t believe in rules. At least, he doesn’t believe companies need to impose a host of strict guidelines in order to run efficiently. In fact, he thinks employees will work better if they don’t have to report their vacation days or be told what to wear. He wants to dissolve what he calls the “boarding school aspects” of business, just to see what happens. In his TED talk, Semler dives into what a company with fewer rules would look like, and how it would affect corporate and employee success.
7. Roselinde Torres, “What It Takes to be A Great Leader”
- Roselinde Torres has spent nearly three decades observing great leaders doing what they do best, and she’s come up with three questions she believes are crucial for CEOs to ask in order to be successful. Torres is focused on what makes a great leader, and though the answer isn’t black and white, she spends her TED talk breaking down what does and doesn’t work for leaders in the 21st century.
Each one of these TED talks has invaluable insights for allowing you to improve leadership in your organization. From Clarkson’s musical analogy to Semler’s “(almost) no rules” approach, there’s clarity in each talk that CEOs can’t ignore.
Where do you go for ideas and insights on leadership? Let’s discuss!