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5 Unmissable TED Talks for Managers

5 Unmissable TED Talks for Managers

We’ve selected five TED ‘ideas worth sharing’ that offer powerful insights to you as a manager. Take 10 minutes to watch a talk and gain new perspectives on developing your leadership abilities and inspiring your team to succeed.

1. How Great Leaders Inspire Action – Simon Sinek

A true TED classic, Simon Sinek’s talk explores how the most successful leaders in the world have used the power of ‘why’ to engage followers and motivate them to achieve exceptional results. Sinek’s argument for putting why we do things rather than what we do at the heart of every endeavour is an inspiring lesson for managers in any field.

2. How to Make Stress Your Friend – Kelly McGonigal

Kelly McGonigal tackles an issue familiar to many managers: chronic stress. But rather than offering advice on how to avoid it, McGonigal urges us to reframe how we think about stress to see it as an empowering force. While her TED Talk primarily looks at the positive physical effects associated with having a more positive attitude to stress, McGonigal’s research encourages us to think about the idea of resilience more broadly – how coping effectively with stress can improve both personal and organisational performance.

3. Dare to Disagree – Margaret Heffernan

The former CEO of five companies, Margaret Heffernan gives a powerful speech about the vital importance of going against the grain when it is the right thing to do, especially when we know that it will invite conflict. Managers often find themselves in an echo chamber of like-minded people, which can dampen their ability to think critically and ultimately move the business forward. Heffernan illustrates that ‘constructive conflict’ means resisting the urge to surround ourselves with people similar to us and rather actively seeking out people who have very different outlooks to us. This contributes to the true thought leadership required of a manager.

4. How Schools Kill Creativity – Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson’s delightfully entertaining speech has a serious argument at its core: creativity in education is as important as literacy, particularly as the twenty-first century economy unfolds in unpredictable ways. However, traditional schooling gradually narrows children’s focus and edges out subjects that encourage imagination and originality. Robinson’s speech is a powerful reminder to managers of the importance of fostering creativity in their organisations. Embracing a creative mindset is fundamental to solving challenges and pursuing innovation in business, particularly at a leadership level.

5. The Puzzle of Motivation – Dan Pink

Dan Pink illustrates how business goes against science by insisting that extrinsic motivation (the ‘carrot and stick’ approach) is the best way to improve employee performance. What scientific fact actually tells us is that in most scenarios in the modern working world, traditional motivators like bonuses actively erode performance. Managers will be inspired to reflect on how they can make intrinsic motivation – a much more powerful driver of performance – a reality for the members of their teams and organisations.

What TED Talks do you find inspiring? Tell us @Critical_Skills