“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” – Aristotle
Each one of us needs a starting point to better ourselves, a spark of inspiration that lights up passion inside of you.
And as the old saying goes: if you want to be the best, learn from the best.
Here’s a list of the 31 best TED talks of all time, which will open the gates of imagination and creativity and help you become a better person!
Takeaway: The future is already here. Learn how modern technology helps the physical world interact with the world of data.
“What we can do is not important. What we should do is more important.”
Takeaway: Learn the force behind the things you do in your everyday life and how to change your habits.
“The defining factor [for success] is never resources; it’s resourcefulness.”
Takeaway: Discover why you are irrational and why your memory often misleads you.
“We don’t choose between experiences, we choose between memories of experiences. Even when we think about the future, we don’t think of our future normally as experiences. We think of our future as anticipated memories.”
Takeaway: There is so much we still don’t know about the planet we live on.
“Today we’ve only explored about 3 percent of what’s out there in the ocean. Already we’ve found the world’s highest mountains, the world’s deepest valleys, underwater lakes, underwater waterfalls … There’s still 97 percent, and either that 97 percent is empty or is just full of surprises.”
Takeaway: Learn 10 baffling and hilarious things about sexual climax.Advertising
“If you can trigger the Lazarus reflex in a dead person, why not the orgasm reflex?”
Takeaway: Having less stuff might actually make us happier.
“We’ve got to cut the extraneous out of our lives, and we’ve got to learn to stem the inflow. We need to think before we buy. Ask ourselves, ‘Is that really going to make me happier? Truly?”
Takeaway: Learn how to train your mind to be happy.
“Natural happiness is what we get when we get what we wanted, and synthetic happiness is what we make when we don’t get what we wanted. In our society, we have a strong belief that synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind.”
Takeaway: Big data helps to debunk myths about the so-called “developing world.”
“I have shown that Swedish top students know statistically significantly less about the world than the chimpanzees.”
Takeaway: Learn why introverts should be encouraged and celebrated.
“Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Gandhi — all these peopled described themselves as quiet and soft-spoken and even shy. And they all took the spotlight, even though every bone in their bodies was telling them not to.”
Takeaway: Learn how our brains can fool our bodies.
“I’m going to show you all how easy it is to manipulate the human mind once you know how.”
Takeaway: Great reminder of how important passion and persistence are in our lives.
“As a magician, I think everything is possible. And I think if something is done by one person it can be done by others.”Advertising
Takeaway: Learn one of the most useful skills in your life – how to detect lies.
“A lie has no power whatsoever by its mere utterance; its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe the lie.”
Takeaway: You will never know if you like something unless you try it.
“The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not, so why not think about something you have always wanted to try and give it a shot for the next 30 days?”
Takeaway: Incredibly moving journey of a scientist who suffered a stroke and her way back to the normal life.
“I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is.”
Takeaway: Learn why those who are vulnerable are generally happier and feel more worthy of love.
“Maybe stories are just data with a soul.”
Takeaway: Learn why there is a genius in all of us.
“We’ve completely internalized and accepted collectively this notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked, and that artistry in the end will always ultimately lead to anguish — are you guys all cool with that idea?”
Takeaway: Learn why your twenties are actually a formative period in our lives.
“When you pat a twentysomething on the head and you say, ‘You have 10 extra years to start your life’ … you have robbed that person of his urgency and ambition.”
Takeaway: Learn how you are influenced by your own body language.Advertising
“Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.”
Takeaway: Learn why we need to rethink how we run our businesses and motivate our employees.
“If you want people to perform better, you reward them, right? Bonuses, commissions, their own reality show. Incentivize them. … But that’s not happening here. You’ve got an incentive designed to sharpen thinking and accelerate creativity, and it does just the opposite. It dulls thinking and blocks creativity.”
Takeaway: Learn in detail how children acquire language and what the implications of this process are.
“The true promise is where the numbers and patterns from this data connect and become personal, enabling us to understand and to respond to humanity and the world in ways previously unimaginable”
Takeaway: Learn why our sedentary lives might be deadly to our bodies and minds.
“Walk and talk. … You’ll be surprised at how fresh air drives fresh thinking.”
Takeaway: Learn about the growing importance of creativity in our education system.
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
Takeaway: Learn about innovative thought processes and the future of energy.
“Really pay attention to negative feedback and solicit it, particularly from friends. … Hardly anyone does that, and it’s incredibly helpful.”
Takeaway: Learn where the true inspiration really comes from.
“People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.”
Takeaway: Learn why the world needs more women at the top of their professions.
“I believe a world in which half the countries and half the companies were run by women would be a better world.”
Takeaway: Learn how diagnosis of an illness can affect identity.
“People … don’t want to be cured or changed or eliminated. They want to be whoever it is that they’ve come to be.”
Takeaway: Learn why every child deserves to have someone believe in them completely.
“Every child deserves a champion — an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”
Takeaway: Learn how to pursue your dreams and see the opportunities in life’s obstacles.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.”
Takeaway: Learn how our ignorance of food might destroy our lives and the those of our children.
“Your child will live a life ten years younger than you because of the landscape of food that we’ve built around them.”
Takeaway: Learn about the powers of trust and relationships.
“I maintain couchsurfing and crowdsurfing are basically the same thing — you’re falling into the audience and you’re trusting each other.”
Featured photo credit: Old Wisdom / Agnes Scholiers (TouTouke) via rgbstock.com
Last Updated on March 15, 2019
How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential
When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.
Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.
In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.
Table of Contents
What Makes a Leader Fail?
A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.
If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.
And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.
What Is Effective Leadership?
Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.
Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.
Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:
“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”
How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader
To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:
The late poet Maya Angelou once said,
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”
Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.
For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.
In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.
It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.
Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.
2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.
If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.
The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.
To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.
3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback
Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.
Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.
Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.
When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.
Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.
So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.
Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.
When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.
Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.
Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.
7. A True Understanding of Inspiration
Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.
Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.
Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.
Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.
As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:
“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”
8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others
Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.
This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.
9. A Passion for Continual Learning
Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.
These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.
The Bottom Line
No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.
Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.
More Resources About Effective Leadership
- Leadership vs Management: Is One Better Than the Other?
- Master These 10 Management Skills to Become a Strong Leader
- 15 Inspiring Books Every Leader Should Not
- Why Leadership and Management Are Two Sides of a Coin
Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com
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