The Best TED Talks for Leaders and Management

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As a leader, you should be watching TED Talks as a way of honing your skills. Here are three TED Talks that will change your thinking about leadership.

Listen, Learn… Then Lead by Stanley McChrystal

Listen, Learn… Then Lead” by Stanley McChrystal relates the leadership lessons he learned throughout his military career. McChrystal shares how conducting a routine parachute training jump prepared him to lead during the 9/11 attacks. During the routine jump, the Army soldiers had to help each other prepare their gear and wait before loading and entering the aircraft. Even though the soldiers were afraid to jump out, they were so weighed down with equipment that they wanted to jump just to take it all off. When the time came to jump, the soldiers had to face their fear of jumping and lock into position as they fell through the air and waited for their parachutes to open. When the 9/11 attacks occurred, McChrystal had to give his soldiers clear directions, wait until the right moment to execute plans, and face his fears while maintaining confidence that he made the right decisions.

Learning from Leadership’s Missing Manual by Fields Wicker-Miurin

Learning from Leadership’s Missing Manual” by Fields Wicker-Miurin discusses her encounters with people from around the world that changed her views on leadership. One story involves Benki, a leader of the Ashaninka Nation in Brazil and Peru. From the time Benki was 2 years old, his grandfather had taught him all the knowledge and wisdom of his people. When Benki was 10 years old, his grandfather died, leaving Benki in charge of the village. When Benki was 18 years old, he went 3,000 miles to the Earth Summit in Rio to share stories about his village. He came back with new technologies, research, and ways of understanding what was going on. Benki continues to work with all people of the Amazon and beyond to build schools, lead reforestation, create a cooperative to diversify people’s livelihood, and use the internet and satellite technology to monitor deforestation and speak to the rest of the world.

Why It’s Time to Forget Workplace Pecking Order by Margaret Heffernan

Why It’s Time to Forget Workplace Pecking Order” by Margaret Heffernan shares a study done on chickens to determine their productivity. An evolutionary biologist divided his chickens into two groups. The first group was an average flock, whereas the second group consisted of the individually most productive chickens. For each of six generations, the biologist selected the most productive chicken for breeding. After concluding the study, the biologist discovered that the average group were all plump, fully feathered, and experiencing dramatically increased egg production. However, in the second group, all but three of the chickens were dead. They had pecked the others to death. The individually productive chickens had achieved their success by suppressing the productivity of the rest.

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