Professional development and training should be a constant focus throughout your career. You should make time to continuously develop your skills and expand your industry knowledge. However, it isn’t often realistic to take a five day formal training class or attend major industry conferences, especially with companies cutting training and travel budgets. I’m going to share a secret that I have used over the past year to get some real time leadership training and coaching— TED Talks. I’ve talked about TED Talks before and I cannot begin to tell you how motivating and beneficial these TED Talks have been for my career. It’s like having a career coach on your desktop. I promise after you watch these TED Talks you will walk away with real-world application, new skills, and some serious confidence, so grab a seat and get to work.
1. Susan Colantuono – The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get
Susan starts off this highly cited and regarded TED Talk by addressing the monumental gender gap within senior-level management, which is a staggering 33% for women. She goes on to explain that the conventional coaching women receive is to be more assertive, develop your network, define your personal brand, and become more focused on leadership soft-skills. While those skills are important for breaking into mid-level leadership roles, they are not the distinguishing traits necessary for moving into senior positions. Susan shares industry insights from CEOs on how they make their decision to promote to senior-level positions while giving actionable advice on how you can position yourself to demonstrate these qualities.
2. Amy Cuddy – Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
If you are about to deliver a major presentation or are heading into an interview, this 20 minute TED Talk is just what you need to watch to get you hyped. In this TED Talk, social psychologist, Amy Cuddy discusses body language both from the impact that it has on others perception of us and also how our nonverbal cues impact how we think of ourselves. “Our bodies change our minds… and our minds change our behavior…and our behavior changes our outcomes.” Amy conducted an experiment with subjects using high-power poses and low-power poses to put together this informative and powerful game-changing advice. Watch this talk to see the high-power poses and how to use them in high pressure scenarios to improve your performance.
3. Sheryl Sandberg – Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders
Facebook executive, author of the empowering book Lean In, and one of the most popular TED Talk speakers on this list, in this TED Talk Sheryl Sandberg answers the question as to why we have too few women leaders in the C-suite. Female representation at the executive level tops out at 15%, and with the challenging decisions that women face between professional success and personal fulfillment, it is hard to imagine how we will close the gender gap in this lifetime. Sheryl gives keen advice in this TED Talk about how to “lean in”—from a very literal perspective of having a seat at the table and this speech was given pre-Solange Knowles’ album —but also about the unconscious decisions we make that represent us leaning back. This is a must-watch TED Talk from one of the strongest and smartest voices in the 21st century women’s empowerment movement. She encourages us as women to not underestimate our abilities, to negotiate for ourselves, and raise your hand for opportunities like running the new department, taking the lead on the difficult project, or the new client.
4. Sarah Lewis – Embrace the Near Win
This is the TED Talk to watch if you need some motivation, a push in the right direction, some encouragement after a rough day or after a challenging business meeting. In this inspiring TED Talk Sarah Lewis describes the difference between success and mastery, while reminding you that we often learn the most from our failures. That, in fact, failure drives us with more tenacity, and pushes us closer to achieving mastery. According to Lewis this is how you convert success to mastery. Lewis reminds us that, while winning is always a good thing, we are often further motivated when we lose by a hair. Watch this inspiring TED talk to change your outlook on a near win.
5. Roselinde Torres – What It Takes To Be A Great Leader
This brief 10 minute TED Talk with Roselinde Torres details what she learned about successful 21st century leaders after quit her job to travel the world study the attributes of effective and ineffective leadership practices in companies, other countries, and non-profit organizations. From her travels she determined two things; the characteristics of successful leaders, and the habits that were in place to enable them to grow to their full potential. Roselinde shares ground-shattering insights about out of date practices, strategies that are causing companies to close their doors for good, and what questions you should ask yourself to figure out if you’re ready to be a great leader. As a leader you have to be willing to face the unknown and this TED Talk will help you figure out if you’re ready.
Here are a couple of additional TED Talks that deserve an honorable mention. These talks are not hosted by women, but they will still beneficial on your leadership development journey.
What TED Talks have inspired you the most??