TED Talks on leadership
A picture of Malcolm X is included in a Brooklyn mural of iconic civil rights leaders on November 18, 2021 in New York City. Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Leadership skills may come naturally to some, but for many others, they need to be honed over time. If you’re looking for some leadership wisdom or inspiration from the comfort of your home, there are plenty of TED Talks on leadership to ignite that fire in your belly.

In the working realm, leadership roles are goals that people across various industries often work towards. Being a manager is not only about supervising employees, but also about inspiring and creating a shared vision for the future. 

This includes knowing how to tell a story and listening to other people’s perspectives, or skills that separate society’s stereotyped vision of a manager from life-changing leaders.

As a university student, you should also consider developing your leadership abilities to better prepare you for the working world as well as for any future opportunities that may come your way.

If your interest is piqued, here are five TED Talks on leadership worth listening to:

Everyday leadership

First on our list of TED Talks on leadership is one by Drew Dudley, Leadership Development Coordinator at the University of Toronto. Dudley calls on everyone to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives.

Dare to disagree

Next on our list of TED Talks on leadership is one on the importance of disagreement. 

Most people naturally avoid conflict, but entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan shows us in her TED Talk that good disagreement — whether in the workplace to one’s relationships — can create positive change. 

Lead like the great conductors

Our list of TED Talks on leadership shows that we can gain leadership wisdom from just about anyone — including an orchestra conductor

From Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan to Germany’s Richard Strauss and Italy’s Riccardo Muti, there’s a lot one can learn about leadership development from conductors, explains Itay Talgam, an orchestra conductor in Israel.

How great leaders inspire action

Inspirational speaker and author Simon Sinek encourages his audience to question why they look to great leaders as role models. 

“As it turns out, all the great inspiring leaders and organisations in the world, whether it’s Apple or Martin Luther King or the Wright brothers, they all think, act and communicate the exact same way,” says Sinek.

Find out how great leaders inspire action here.

The difference between winning and succeeding

Last on our list of TED Talks on leadership is John Wooden, a legendary college basketball coach who also led the UCLA team to a record-breaking number of wins. 

In his TED Talk, Wooden shares his perspective on how winning and succeeding are not one and the same. 

He shares how leadership roles, like being a coach, is all about showing athletes how being successful goes way beyond winning points.