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Top 10 TED Talks for Managers

Compiled and Written By Staff

If you're looking to learn something new about management and be inspired at the same time, take a look at these 10 most popular TED talks on business and management.

1. Simon Sinek – How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek, author of the book Start With Why, explains how his own struggle to understand personal motivation led him to the fundamental realization that it all begins with "Why?". The best managers and leaders help people get in touch with their personal "why" and connect it to the "why" of the company or organization. "If you hire people just because they can do a job, they'll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they'll work for you with blood and sweat and tears."

Watch the TED Talk here!

#2. Dan Pink – The Puzzle of Motivation

Former Al Gore speechwriter and career analyst Dan Pink brings a fresh take to the puzzle of motivation with humor and entertaining stories that reveal new ways of approaching the managerial task. "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."

Watch the TED Talk here!

#3. Richard St. John – 8 Secrets of Success

Richard St. John, an ordinary guy, set out on a decade-long mission to understand the secrets of success by interviewing and researching the most successful people in the world. In this short 3 minute talk St. John boils everything he learned down to 8 simple words. "The interesting thing is: if you do it for love, the money comes anyway."

Watch the TED Talk here!

#4. Susan Cain – The Power of Introverts

Former corporate lawyer and negotiations consultant Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts, demonstrates the often unappreciated gifts that introverted people bring to the workplace and the world at large. Exposing our culture's extrovert bias, Cain explains how some of the greatest leaders in the world have been introverts and how the unique talents and abilities of introverts can be maximized in the workplace. As Cain notes, "There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas."

Watch the TED Talk here!

#5. Shawn Achor – The Happy Secret to Better Work

Shawn Achor, popular Harvard lecturer and CEO of Good Think Inc., challenges the age old assumption that we work to be happy, flipping the equation around to argue that happiness actually makes one more productive. In this absolutely hilarious and inspiring talk, Achor explains how organizations can increase the happiness and meaning of their employees and thereby raise success rates and profitability. "[It's] the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time."

Watch the TED Talk here!

#6. Tony Robbins – Why We Do What We Do

Well known life coach and motivational speaker Tony Robbins explains why he's not interested in motivating people at all, but rather helping them understand why they do what they do and the "invisible forces" behind their actions. Arguing that our emotions are the real seat of our actions, Robbins helps us get in touch with the real sources of our motivation in his no-BS tell-it-like-it-is way. "Explore your web — the needs, the beliefs, the emotions that are controlling you … so there's more of you to give … and so you can appreciate what's driving other people. It's the only way our world's going to change."

Watch the TED Talk here!

#7. Amy Cuddy – Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Harvard Business School researcher and professor Amy Cuddy demonstrates how our body language not only speaks to others, but to ourselves. Through her work on "power posing" Cuddy reveals that the way we sit or stand can positively or negatively influence our chances our self-confidence, persuasiveness, and chances of success by literally changing our body chemistry and emotions. "Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes."

Watch the TED Talk here!

#8. Jason Fried – Why Work Doesn't Happen at Work

Jason Fried, author of bestselling business book Rework and co-founder of 37-signals, argues that the main barriers to productivity are "M&Ms," or, Managers and Meetings. According to Fried, one of the most successful startup entrepreneurs, the office is one of the worst places to try and get work done and offers three alternatives the status quo to increase your team's productivity. "[Facebook and Twitter] aren't the real problems in the office. The real problems are what I like to call the M&Ms, the Managers and the Meetings."

Watch the TED Talk here!

#9. Tom Wujec – Build A Tower Build A Team

As a manager, your job is to build the best possible team and get the most out of them. In this talk, Autodesk Fellow Tom Wujec explores what we can learn about team building and productivity from the "marshmallow problem"– a simple team-building exercise to see who can build the tallest tower using dry spaghetti, tape and a marshmallow. What makes for the most successful teams may surprise you. "Design truly is a contact sport. It demands that we bring all of our senses to the task, and that we apply the very best of our thinking, our feeling and our doing to the challenge that we have at hand."

Watch the TED Talk here!

#10. Itay Talgum – Lead Like the Great Conductors

On the assumption that leadership and management is analogous to directing an orchestra, Israeli conductor Itay Talgam looks to the styles of six of the greatest conductors of the 20th century for lessons on how to get the most out of any collaboration. Learn how listening and reacting well are learnable skills as important to creating a great company as a beautiful symphony. "[A conductor's] happiness does not come from only his own story and his joy of the music. The joy is about enabling other people's stories to be heard at the same time."

Watch the TED Talk here!