10 TED Talks That Will Transform You Into a Better, Smarter Leader (All You Have to Do Is Click Play)
In today’s business world, leaders are emerging at all ranks. The role of the leader is not exclusive to executive-level positions.
But being a great leader doesn’t have to mean going to management school. You can emerge as an effective trailblazer in your office by being true to yourself and constantly learning from the information that is at your fingertips. Start by watching these short lectures and embodying their lessons.
1. Carol Dweck: The Power of Believing That You Can Improve
Unleash potential in yourself and in those you lead by encouraging a growth—rather than fixed—mindset. In this talk, Dweck discusses the power of students receiving a “not yet” grade versus a failing grade—it increased their motivation and ability to succeed. In another talk about mindset, Charlie Reeve found that employees with a growth mindset were constantly looking to adapt and to grow in their professional and personal worlds; they didn’t believe that their talents and futures were predetermined. Think about how you can shift your mindset to be more growth oriented. Now, imagine the results if you helped your peers and employees shift their mindset as well.
2. Sam Richards: A Radical Experiment in Empathy
This is, as the title suggests, a radical and often misunderstood TED talk about the importance of putting ourselves in others’ shoes. Not only is empathy a quality of being a good person, it is also key to being a great leader. It helps us understand how to better communicate with and understand our superiors, peers, and employees. Do not underestimate this key characteristic.
3. Angela Lee Duckworth: The Key to Success? Grit
Duckworth defines grit as “passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” Grit is one of those intangible concepts that we still know very little about, but one thing is clear: The grittier we are, the more successful we become. This is just another reason to find your true passion and purpose in life and truly dedicate yourself to it.
4. Srikumar Rao: Plug Into Your Hard-Wired Happiness
I attribute my consistent, joyful attitude to what I learned about mindset and happiness from Srikumar Rao. In his TED talk, Rao discusses how the “if-then” model of happiness is hurting our current well-being and success. Happiness is actually hardwired into us—it’s easier to achieve than you think. Think about the quality of your life and career if you were happy right now.
5. David Marquet: How Great Leaders Serve Others
David Marquet’s experience as the captain of a naval ship allowed him to see that the traditional leadership style of giving orders wasn’t going to work. To empower means to let go of the idea that you know everything and that your job as a leader is to always tell others what to do. When you give up control, you make room for everyone on the team to be innovative and authentically engaged.
6. Ramsey Musallam: 3 Rules to Spark Learning
In the changing business world, innovation is becoming more and more critical for success. To stay on top and gain a leading edge, businesses must be pushing their creativity and problem-solving efforts. The type of high-octane brainpower required for that kind of forward thinking can only come from someone who is engaged, curious, and comfortable being themselves in their environment. And we need leaders who are dedicated to helping their teams achieve this level of open-mindedness and forward-thinking. Ramsey Musallam’s TED talk perfectly shows how curiosity and experimentation are the windows to powerful and fulfilling results.
7. Linda Cliatt-Wayman: How to Fix a Broken School? Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard
Linda Cliatt-Wayman embodies what it means to care passionately—caring so much that you are willing to break with convention and be radical for the sake of your people. Truly great leaders make an effort to meet and care for everyone in their organization, school, and family.
8. Mike Brady and Dion Drew: Hiring the Unemployable
I have recently been inspired by Mike Brady, president of Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York. His bakery operates in a radical way in order to help people—they have a policy called “open hiring,” which means that they will hire anyone, no questions asked. In this TED talk, Mike shares Greyston’s mission, and Dion Drew, one of the employees, tells how the bakery affected his life. Dion’s story is a powerful example of someone being given the reins of possibility and doing the most with it. Dion’s story is a great example of the power of giving and the power of owning your own potential.
9. Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability
Moments of vulnerability truly are inspiring, and they make way for the possibility of even greater connection and appreciation. When you are vulnerable, when you put a name to your resistance, it can be addressed, acknowledged, and worked through. When one of my clients opens up and shows his or her vulnerable side in our work together, I know success is guaranteed.
10. Yves Morieux: How Too Many Rules at Work Keep You From Getting Things Done
This is a great talk about how our society’s obsession with measurement and processes in the name of productivity are actually quite counterproductive. Human creativity and innovation does not flourish in these rigid systems—we must make room for more freedom and collaboration.
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