Eight Must-Watch TED Talks on Leadership

As a leader, your rate of growth will largely be influenced by your commitment to continuously invest in your own self-development. 

However, finding the time to attend seminars regularly or read a new book each week isn’t always realistic – especially when you’re already trying to juggle pressures at work, with family, relationships, health, and exercise. 

While it might be easy when you’re feeling too busy to throw in the towel and forget about self-education, this approach is short sighted and could stop you from achieving long-term goals. 

We’re all busy people, especially as the end of the year gets closer, so we have taken the hard work out of finding quality content on leadership for you. 

If this sounds like you, instead of giving up entirely, why not commit 25 minutes a day to watching a TED Talk? Something you can easily achieve on your commute, at the gym (if you download the podcast version) or instead of watching television in the evening. 

Here’s Our Top 8 Must-Watch TED Talks on Leadership 

John Wooden: The difference between winning and succeeding 

With profound simplicity, Coach John Wooden redefines success and urges us all to pursue the best in ourselves. In this inspiring talk he shares the advice he gave his players at UCLA, quotes poetry and remembers his father’s wisdom. 

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action 

Often considered the holy grail of TED Talks on leadership, this is a must-watch for any leader or aspiring leader. Throughout this compelling talk, Simon Sinek presents a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership – starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers … 

Linda Hill: How to manage for collective creativity 

What’s the secret to unlocking the creativity hidden inside your daily work, and giving every great idea a chance? Harvard professor Linda Hill, co-author of “Collective Genius,” has studied some of the world’s most creative companies to come up with a set of tools and tactics to keep great ideas flowing — from everyone in the company, not just the designated “creatives.” 

Jim Whitehurst: What I learned from giving up everything I knew as a leader 

As the former Chief Operating Officer of Delta, Jim Whitehurst thought he knew the rules for how to lead. “I thought I was the person ultimately responsible for solving the problems facing my organization. I was the one who was supposed to bring order and structure,” he says. His world was turned upside down when he left Delta to become CEO of Red Hat, an open-source software company. Whitehurst shares what he learned when he took this leap of faith and joined a company unlike any he’d ever seen. 

Rach Ranton: Where are we trying to end up? 

Drawing upon both her military and corporate careers, Rach Ranton explores a central principle in group dynamics: If we all know what we’re trying to accomplish, it doesn’t matter exactly how we get there. Armed with a stockpile of lessons, she encourages leaders to adopt the best practices of a well-oiled unit. Ranton asks: If you as a leader were absent from the scene, would your team still know what to do … and why they were doing it? 

Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders 

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions — and offers 3 powerful pieces of advice to women aiming for the C-suite. 

Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe 

What makes a great leader? Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests, it’s someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility. 

Drew Dudley: Everyday leadership 

We have all changed someone’s life — usually without even realizing it. In this funny talk, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives. 


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