TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas. For anyone in business, it’s a truly valuable subscription. TED began in 1984 as a conference where technology, entertainment, and design converged, and today offers some of the most informative short yet powerful talks from the world’s greatest business leaders.
Looking to lead with confidence and a clear idea of what works? Take inspiration from some of these 12 must-watch leadership videos and garner advice from those who have already seen staggering success:
1. Nancy Duarte: The Secret Structure of Good Talks
Nancy Duarte is an American writer, speaker and CEO of Duarte Design and believes that ideas are the most powerful tools people have. Her passion is to help every person learn to communicate their world-changing idea effectively, and with that in mind, her lecture on “The Secret Structure of Great Talks” is well worth a listen.
A great idea is powerless if not shared, and Duarte believes that communication is the only thing standing in the way of adoption. Communication is so important in fact, that a mediocre idea can be sold to hundreds if presented well, while a breathtakingly innovative idea can be dismissed if presented underwhelmingly.
Through this talk you’ll learn how to make your own talks more powerful, motivational, and inspiring.
2. Derek Sivers: How to Start a Movement
Derek Sivers is best known for being the founder and former president of CD Baby, an online CD store for independent musicians. He knows better than anyone what it is to take an idea and turn it into a movement, and can help you on your journey to become a successful entrepreneur.
Using some surprising footage, Sivers explains in this TED talk how movements really get started. First off, it’s not the leader that counts but the first follower. After all, it’s the first follower that “turns the lone nut into a leader”.
Delving into his ‘no-fear attitude’, he cleverly and comically explains how to build one follower into thousands.
3. Richard St. John’s 8 Secrets of Success
Richard St. John has achieved success as a member of scientific staff at Nortel Networks R&D labs and as the founder of The St. John Group, an innovative marketing communications company. He’s a self-confessed average guy who turned something he was passionate about into something monumental.
This three-minute slideshow touches on the real secrets of success and is the condensed version of a two-hour presentation he gives to high school students. Based on seven years research and 500 interviews he breaks down what works - passion, work, practice, pushing yourself, mothers, serving others value, persistence, and ideas.
4. Diana Laufenberg: How to Learn from Mistakes
For anyone who’s made a mistake in business, it’s pleasing to know that many of the business greats have made mistakes also. The thing that separates them from the rest is that they know how to learn from them.
Diana Laufenberg is the co-founder of Inquiry Schools, a nonprofit that works to create and support learning environments that are inquiry-driven and project-based. She also has more than 15 years experience as a secondary social studies teacher.
In this talk, Laufenberg explores the different ways in which to turn a mistake into success and how not to let mistakes get the better of you.
5. Itay Talgam: Lead Like the Great Conductors
Itay Talgam, a former orchestra conductor that now spends his life conducting government, academia and business, shows how leading can be influenced by some of the world’s great conductors. Subjects discussed include the importance of enjoying your work and treating the people that you lead like equals.
6. Fields Wicker-Miurin: Learning from Leadership’s Missing Manual
If leadership came with a manual, this would be the closest thing to it. Field Wicker-Miurin wants to improve the quality and impact of leadership worldwide and in this 16-minute video she discusses how the efforts of leaders are interconnected and have the opportunity to improve the world.
Co-founder of Leader’s Quest, an organisation that brings together leaders from across the world and director of CDC Group, a UK development finance institution, Wicker-Miurin is more than qualified to advise on leadership. Here she shares three fine examples of good leadership and what we can learn from them.
7. Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
Amy Cuddy is an american social psychologist known for her research on stereotyping and discrimination, emotions, and nonverbal behaviour. In this talk she discusses the importance of body language and the role it plays in business. She also discusses how body language can change the way in which we see ourselves and that by “power posing”, we can feel confident, powerful and ready for success.
8. Stanley McChrystal: Listen, Learn...Then Lead
Stanley McChrystal is a retired United States Army general, described by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates as, “perhaps the finest warrior and leader of men in combat I ever met”.
In this talk, he shares what he learned about his time in the military and how the same principles can be put into leading business. Discussing the art of listening and learning, he shows that certain factors must come first before any attempt at leading is made. He also shares what it is to create shared purpose amongst people of different age and skill sets.
9. Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Simon Sinek, an author best known for popularising the concept of “the golden circle”, has a simple but powerful approach to leadership based on the question “Why?”. Using examples from Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright Brothers, Sinek discusses why “leaders eat last” and why it’s important to know why we do what we do. What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? Why does your organisation exist?In this 18-minute talk, learn the principles of “why?”.
10. Seth Godin: The Tribes We Lead
Seth Godin, an American author, entrepreneur, marketer and public speaker, argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past - tribes. As part of this intriguing lecture, Godin urges you to give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change and discusses the importance of taking charge and challenging the status quo.
11. Sheryl Sandberg: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders
As the Chief Operating Officer at the helm of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg juggles the task of monetising the social media giant while keeping its users happy and engaged. Prior to this she was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google and Chief of Staff at the U.S. Treasury Department. She is the epitome of inspiration when it comes to women in business.
In this talk, Sandberg discusses why so few women make it to the top of the corporate ladder and offers three powerful pieces of advice.
12. Kiran Bir Sethi: Kids, Take Charge
As the founder of the Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India, Kiran Bir Sethi uses examples of her groundbreaking work to teach one of the most valuable life lessons you can learn - “I Can”. She discusses the “I Can” bug and how it can infect your mind with positivity and inspiration. She discusses the concept of ‘luck’, empowerment, and man’s mindset, and openly discusses how by giving love and encouragement to her students she was able to transform them into children with a bright future ahead.