Managers are tasked with the growth and motivation of their teams. With a staggering 70% of US employees not engaged at work, that is no small task. Thankfully managers don’t have to be inspirational speakers to have access to them.

TED, a nonprofit dedicated to spreading ideas, offers thousands of brief talks from influential speakers including many on topics related to personal and professional growth. Most talks are only 15 to 20 minutes.

Since making TED Talks a part of my own personal education, I’ve become more motivated, a better leader and a better colleague. It is a treasure trove of resources ready to be mined by managers.

Assign TED talks as an educational alternative

Corporate training and education often isn’t always as effective as you would like it to be. The topics are stale and the approach traditional. Shake things up by using TED Talks as an educational alternative. Consider assigning TED Talks to your team and then using them as a group discussion topic. Or apply the concept to individuals, suggesting TED Talks geared towards specific needs and situations.

TED Talks can be especially useful when paired with performance reviews. Employees have just received constructive criticism and are seeking actionable ways to address it. Follow up on each review with a suggested watchlist of TED Talks.

Improve Your Management Abilities

Apply the same methods you use on your team to yourself. TED Talks are the perfect resource to help you become a better manager. Among the 25 most popular talks of all time are topics including “How great leaders inspire action,” “The puzzle of motivation,” and “How to speak so that people want to listen.” Challenge yourself to watch one talk each week and apply something that you hear. Keep using what works and forget about what doesn’t.

Foster team building through sharing

Sharing inspiration with one another is a great way for your team to become a stronger unit. Lead by example. My favorite way to discover TED Talks is to see what my professional network is sharing. Put up thoughtful social media posts about talks you’ve watched, identifying a key takeaway or insight. You could also send your team emails about TED Talks you liked and what you learned. Intellectual curiosity is contagious. Set the tone and encourage your team to follow suit. Create opportunities for discussion around the talks being shared. Make the open exchange of inspiration ideas a core part of your team’s culture.

Incorporating TED is just one way to think outside of the box when it comes to the personal and professional development of your team. What other creative approaches have you used?


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