TED talks are always a great source of insight and perspective. The world of performance management, human resources, and performance reviews in general has no shortage of insightful TED talks for listeners to enjoy and learn from.
That is why we put together nine of our favorite TED talks on performance management. From 5-minute easy to consume bits to 20 minute epics, the performance management TED talks on this list will help you view topics such as leadership, human resources, and motivation in a brand new light.
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Best TED Talks on Performance Management
Everyday Leadership – Drew Dudley
Drew Dudley is a master of finding the inspirational, in the ordinary. This 6-minute TED talk on the topic of everyday leadership challenges our conventional notions of leadership by simply pointing out how one can positively inspire others through simple, everyday actions.
Drew is an incredibly engaging speaker and his manner of storytelling is very fun to listen to. His story of “The Lollipop Moment” is both entertaining and packs a surprising punch. He manages to pack a very strong message in a relatively short talk. What exactly is that message?
Key Takeaways: Dudley points out a simple flaw in a rather common understanding of leadership. Leadership isn’t moving heaven and earth. Great moments of leadership can often come down to everyday actions. Everyone can be an agent for change through simple “Lollipop Moments”.
8 Lessons on Building a Company People Enjoy Working For – Patty McCord
If there is one thing we love here at the Teamflect blog, it is someone who challenges the status quo. This isn’t your classic TED talk but we had to include it on this list, sheerly out of respect for the number of human resources and performance management clichés McCord manages to utterly destroy in the span of 5 minutes alone.
Patty McCord, a veteran in HR, shares groundbreaking insights on creating workplaces where employees genuinely enjoy working. In this brief talk, she challenges traditional HR practices and meaningless acronyms and instead encourages companies to think differently about how they motivate and engage their workforce.
Key Takeaways: McCord’s talk is packed with beautiful ideas, such as treating employees like adults and focusing on creating great teams instead of elaborate rules. While they may seem like common sense to those on the outside looking in, these principles can actually reshape how performance is managed and lead to a more dynamic, committed workforce.
10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation – Celeste Headlee
Celeste Headlee offers a compelling discourse on enhancing communication skills. She stresses the importance of being a good listener, avoiding pontification, and using open-ended questions. These skills are crucial in performance management, as they foster better understanding and collaboration.
Key Takeaways: The talk emphasizes the value of true listening, being present in conversations, and creating a space where meaningful dialogue can occur. It’s a vital resource for anyone looking to improve their communication skills, particularly in the context of performance reviews and team interactions.
The Happy Secret to Better Work – Shawn Achor
Anyone who stands up to toxic workplace hustle culture is always welcome right here at the Teamflect blog. Shawn Achor, with his engaging and humorous delivery, challenges the conventional belief that hard work leads to success and happiness.
He argues that happiness is a precursor to success, not the other way around. This perspective is particularly relevant in performance management, where a positive work culture can significantly enhance productivity and job satisfaction.
Key Takeaways: Achor’s ‘happiness advantage’ theory suggests that a positive mindset can improve creativity, intelligence, and energy levels at work. He provides practical tips for cultivating happiness, such as expressing gratitude and performing acts of kindness, which can be integrated into performance management strategies.
Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe – Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek delves into the critical role of leadership in establishing trust and safety in the workplace. He argues that when employees feel safe and supported by their leaders, they are more likely to collaborate, innovate, and give their best.
Sinek is a great storyteller with excellent delivery. He brings these traits to an incredibly vital discussion of our era: The relationship between effective leadership and a sense of safety. He explains a core principle of leadership through the simple phrase that he keeps circling back to: “They would’ve done it for me”.
Key Takeaways: Sinek’s exploration of leadership underscores the need for empathy, support, and protective environments in organizations. His insights are directly applicable to performance management, emphasizing the importance of trust and safety in fostering high-performing teams.
Build a Tower, Build a Team – Tom Wujec
Tom Wujec presents the fascinating Marshmallow Challenge to illustrate the dynamics of team collaboration and innovation. This challenge reveals key insights into how teams work best together, particularly under constraints and with clear objectives.
While Wujec may not have the best of visuals to accompany his great TED Talk, he does apply the results of his Marshmallow Challenge to performance management quite brilliantly. Observing individuals in the microcosm of this challenge does bring with it a unique perspective.
Key Takeaways: The talk provides a unique perspective on team dynamics and problem-solving. Wujec’s findings can be applied to performance management, suggesting that providing clear goals, fostering collaborative environments, and encouraging innovation can lead to more effective teams.
The Puzzle of Motivation – Dan Pink
Runtime: 18 minutes
Dan Pink’s insightful talk challenges the traditional reward-and-punishment approach to motivation. Drawing on decades of scientific research, he proposes that autonomy, mastery, and purpose are far more effective in motivating people, especially in creative and cognitive tasks.
Pink brings a unique scientific approach to conventional employee rewards and recognition programs, His perspective provides the audience with unique insight into what motivates individuals. The lessons we drive from Pink’s TED talk on performance management can change how we approach employee engagement.
Key Takeaways: Pink’s framework for intrinsic motivation is a game-changer in performance management. By focusing on these three elements, managers can create a more engaged, innovative, and productive workforce. His approach encourages a shift from extrinsic rewards to fostering an environment where intrinsic motivation can thrive.
What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work – Dan Ariely
Runtime: 20 minutes
In this beautifully paced TED talk on performance management and motivation, Dan Ariely explores the psychological factors that contribute to satisfaction and motivation at work. He demonstrates how meaning, recognition, and a sense of contribution significantly impact employee engagement and performance.
An incredibly poignant section of his talk is definitely the part where he displays how ignoring someone’s work is equally harmful as shredding their work in front of their eyes. This alone makes you consider how you approach the work of others, doesn’t it?
Key Takeaways: Ariely’s principles for enhancing job satisfaction are crucial for performance management. He suggests that managers should focus on making employees’ work more meaningful, offering genuine recognition, and creating a sense of ownership and pride in their work.
Forget the Pecking Order – Margaret Hefferman
Runtime: 15 minutes
Margaret Hefferman challenges the conventional wisdom of competition-driven success in the workplace. She advocates for a collaborative and supportive work culture where the focus is on collective success rather than individual achievements.
Key Takeaways: Hefferman’s insights on teamwork and collaboration are crucial for effective performance management. She emphasizes the importance of social cohesion and mutual support in achieving organizational goals, advocating for a more inclusive and team-oriented approach.