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Playlist (12 talks)
How leaders inspire

What makes a great leader? The ability to rule with an iron fist? Being well-liked? Or maybe just having a really loud voice? These TED speakers each offer much more nuanced approaches on how to inspire others.

Playlist (12 talks): How leaders inspire

  • 18:04
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    Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers ... (Filmed at TEDxPugetSound.)
    “Simon Sinek’s take on the key to inspiring: communicating the why of what you’re doing.”
  • 16:35
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    Leadership doesn't have a user's manual, but Fields Wicker-Miurin says stories of remarkable, local leaders are the next best thing. At a TED salon in London, she shares three.
    “For Fields Wicker-Martin, leadership is about seeing the writing on the wall, and then doing something different to try and change it.”
  • 20:51
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    An orchestra conductor faces the ultimate leadership challenge: creating perfect harmony without saying a word. In this charming talk, Itay Talgam demonstrates the unique styles of six great 20th-century conductors, illustrating crucial lessons for all leaders.
    “Itay Talgam asks us to lead like a great conductor, enabling other people’s voices to be heard at the same time as our own.”
  • 6:14
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    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.
    “According to Drew Dudley, leaders inspire through the little everyday acts that improve lives.”
  • 9:19
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    The world is full of leadership programs, but the best way to learn how to lead might be right under your nose. In this clear, candid talk, Roselinde Torres describes 25 years observing truly great leaders at work, and shares the three simple but crucial questions would-be company chiefs need to ask to thrive in the future.
    “Great leaders tend to ask three relatively simple questions, says Roselinde Torres, starting with: How are you anticipating the next change in your business model?”
  • 18:07
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    Economics writer Tim Harford studies complex systems — and finds a surprising link among the successful ones: they were built through trial and error. In this sparkling talk from TEDGlobal 2011, he asks us to embrace our randomness and start making better mistakes.
    “Because the best systems are built through trial and error, Tim Harford sees the key to leadership as encouraging people to try things and risk making a mistake.”
  • 16:39
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    David Logan talks about the five kinds of tribes that humans naturally form — in schools, workplaces, even the driver's license bureau. By understanding our shared tribal tendencies, we can help lead each other to become better individuals.
    “How do leaders lead? They influence action based on the worldview they radiate. And a great leader radiates something very specific…”
  • 16:56
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    Sheryl Sandberg admits she was terrified to step onto the TED stage in 2010 — because she was going to talk, for the first time, about the lonely experience of being a woman in the top tiers of business. Millions of views (and a best-selling book) later, the Facebook COO talks with the woman who pushed her to give that first talk, Pat Mitchell. Sandberg opens up about the reaction to her idea, and explores the ways that women still struggle with success.
    “Sheryl Sandberg isn’t just a leader for the Facebook office, but for women around the globe. She inspires by being honest about how difficult it can be.”
  • 15:38
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    Four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military. How can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets? By listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure.
    “To inspire others and create a shared sense of purpose, General Stanley McChrystal says its essential to listen first. ”
  • 3:09
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    With help from some surprising footage, Derek Sivers explains how movements really get started. (Hint: it takes two.)
    “The key to inspiring a large group? Getting that single first follower.”
  • 17:48
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    We each want to live a life of purpose, but where to start? In this luminous, wide-ranging talk, Jacqueline Novogratz introduces us to people she's met in her work in "patient capital" — people who have immersed themselves in a cause, a community, a passion for justice. These human stories carry powerful moments of inspiration.
    “Jacqueline Novogratz reveals how leadership is immersing yourself so deeply, that the cause becomes your life.”
  • 17:36
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    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.
    “For famed coach John Wooden, inspiring leadership is creating your own definition of success … and then embodying it for others.”