7 Short Lessons on Leadership

by Wendy Soon on March 7, 2016

LEADERSHIPBANNERWe know you love short lessons, we love them too! With time always being the limiting factor in what we do (or want to do), we need to be efficient in everything we engage in. Including learning. Which is why we decided to put together this series of short lessons for all leaders. Leadership can be intuitive for some, but for most people, it is something learnt along the way. Instead of learning it the hard way through trial and error, we find great value in learning from the experts – some experts in leadership, some experts in other areas that interestingly apply well to leadership (who would have thought to learn from ants and conductors?). Below is a collection of great videos and TED talks that cover a broad range of topics on leadership, from inspiring your workers to motivating them and keeping them happy.

1. Simon Sinek – How great leaders inspire action

Taking from popular examples such as Apple, Martin Luther King and the Wright Brothers, Sinek identifies how all the great and inspiring leaders of the world think, act and communicate that is different from an ordinary company or community. He calls it the Golden Circle Model – How, What and Why.


2. Dan Pink – The puzzle of motivation

A very humorous speaker, Pink engages the audience right from the start. Backed with hard, scientific research, Pink discusses the power of incentives, and how they work or not work. He claims that there is a big gap between what science knows, and what business does. Challenging the effectiveness of traditional rewards, he proposes a novel way forward to motivate people.


3. Deborah Gordon – The emergent genius of ant colonies

Gordon studies ants, because she likes to watch how organizations work and interact. Ant colonies are one of the many biological systems that demonstrate a complex social system that has worked as long as the organism has been around on earth. How do these ants get down to business, strategize and allocate tasks, with no language, memory or visible leadership? There’s something that we, as leaders, can emulate from.


4. Itay Talgam – Lead like the great conductors

Talgam taps into a very rare source of leadership inspiration – musical conductors. Conductors need to lead an entire orchestra of different instruments, through rhythm and expression, without speaking a single word. A tiny flick of the wrist, and chaos turns to order. How do they do it? Find out as Talgam conducts the TEDtalk choir.


5. Derek Sivers – How to start a movement

Sivers perfectly summarizes how to start a movement, in one of the shortest TED talks – 3minutes! He also touches on one of the most crucial points of how leaders can get their most important first followers (which lead to their next follower, and a next, and eventually a mob).


6. Brené Brown – The power of vulnerability

Quality researcher (and story teller) Brown studies human connection. The need for feeling connected is biologically wired in us humans. Not only does that refer to our need for love and acceptance, she also touches on the less mentioned parts of human connection – shame, fear and vulnerability.


7. Shawn Achor – The Happy Secret to Better Work

Psychologist Anchor studied outliers that are not affected by what he termed “Medical School Syndrome”. In a fast-paced talk that doesn’t allow any time to feel boredom, Anchor explains how and why the Positive Brain determines success – where 90% of whether a person is happy, depends not on what is in the external world around that individual, but how his brain processes that external world.


If you enjoyed our short list of lessons, please check out our other recommendations on team and team building.

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