Being a leader means you need to be constantly improving. There are many ways to do just that, and one of them is watching leadership Ted Talks.

There are a wide range of experts who have given captivating and informative Ted talks. 

Their knowledge and experience can certainly help you to analyze how you can be a better leader, giving you new insights and different perspectives. It’s very important to be always aware of ways to expand your expertise.

Ted talks offer you the opportunity to hear from great professionals, to learn from them, and best of all, they are completely free.

So why not take advantage of that? Check out our list of the best leadership Ted Talks to kick start your journey as a leader.

 1. A new vision for leadership in the military — Brenda Cartier

In this Ted Talk, Brenda Cartier talks about her experience in military leadership. Through the challenges she had to face as a woman in the U.S. Air Force, Brenda discovered some very important skills that are essential to being a strong leader.

Brenda Cartier was the first woman in the Air Commando to be nominated to the rank of general. She is also the Director of Operations at Headquarters, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).

During her career, Brenda has commanded several special operation units and become a master navigator, with more than 4,000 flying hours, and uses her combat and life experience to be a dynamic leader Men and women alike can learn from her story, struggle and triumph as a modern leader.


 2. Listen, learn…then lead — Stanley McChrystal

General Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan and the former leader of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), shared in his TED talk what he has learned about leadership throughout his military career.

Raised with traditional models of leadership, Mcchrystal saw the need of developing different skills because he was living in a different time.

He had to learn how to lead diverse groups of men and women with a wide range of ages and experiences, and then create a shared purpose for them. McChrystal shows us how it’s important to be always willing to learn and build trust among your personnel. 

3. Why good leaders make you feel safe — Simon Sinek

The importance of being a leader who inspires trust and cooperation, instead of fear, is the theme of Simon Sinek’s Ted talk.

Sinek is a leader expert and teacher at Columbia University and also the author of the books “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” and “Leaders Eat Last” This Ted talk discusses how a leadership based on fear isn’t effective and doesn’t enable people to give their best. 

Sinek explains that trust and cooperation aren’t orders or instructions, but feelings, which will develop depending on the kind of leader you are.

According to Simon, we live surrounded by danger, and a good leader will inspire his team to face it in order to conquer new goals.


4. What it takes to be a great leader — Roselinde Torres

When Roselinde Torres started to study leadership programs in companies, she was surprised by how ineffective they were. It compelled her to search answers for those questions:

“What are successful leaders doing”, “Why is the leadership gap widening?” and “What Makes a great leader in the 21st century?”

She dedicated her work to understand that, and shows what she has found in this very interesting Ted Talk.

An expert in leadership, Roselinde Torres is a senior partner and managing director at the consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

5. What makes us feel good about our work? — Dan Ariely

In this Ted Talk, Dan Ariely explains what motivates people to work. His background makes him uniquely qualified to tackle this subject head on.

He’s the author of the books “Predictably Irrational”, “The Upside of Irrationality”, “The Honest Truth About Dishonesty” and the TED Book “Payoff: The Hidden Logic that Shapes Our Motivations”.

He is also a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University.

Ariely offers a new perspective on the motivation of employees (hint: it’s more than money). 

In order to be a good leader, it is necessary to understand that and look for ways to inspire your team, to give them purpose. A bonus might be nice but it’s inclusion in a purpose that can drive sustained success.

6. How should a CEO lead? A musical exploration — John Clarkson

The need for leaders who can drive innovation in an environment that is in constant change is the topic of John Clarkson’s Ted Talk. People tend to see a CEO as an orchestra conductor, but the Boston Consulting Group (BCG)’s former CEO, believes that comparison may be outdated. 

Instead he offers the example of a jazz band leader: someone who is creative, talented and able to put together a different group of musicians in order to create one harmonic song without a musical score completely written out.

This requires improvisation, ingenuity, and allowing others to improvise and collaborate so they learn from each other. 

7. The happy secret to better work —  Shawn Achor

In his Ted Talk, Shawn Achor highlights the importance of positive psychology, which means focusing not only on the bad aspects but also valuing success, however minor it may seem.

The author of “The Happiness Advantage”, Achor is a psychologist and the CEO of Good Think Inc., and brings this element to his leadership style. He explains how changing the focus from the negative side of things to the good side can make people feel more motivated.

Get inspired by leadership Ted Talks

What did you find about our list of leadership Ted Talks? Have you watched any of them? These are just some of the many interesting lectures about how to become a better leader that you can find at Ted’s website or on YouTube.

Search for others and get inspired to improve yourself.

Remember, the best leaders share their ideas! Don’t forget to share our list on your social channels. Help your coworkers and friends learn about good leadership skills through these informative and entertaining talks.

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