Top 5 TED Talks Inspiring Performance Management


TED talks have always been inspirational, especially when they are about performance management and employee engagement. The ambitious ones, the curious learners leverage these speeches as valuable learning tools, packaged in a compact, conducive format. In TED talks, there is usually a specialist/experienced person, who gives a rundown of an inspirational topic in just 10-15 minutes.

Organizations should feature these videos quite often to keep their employees motivated. Project management, performance management, and employee engagement are some of the key areas where your employees need an extra push. The organizations should always welcome new perspectives and new ideas to explore by drawing inspirations from these talks. That’s why we have narrowed down a list of our favorite leadership and performance management TED talks, and their key takeaways:

5 TED talks on performance management
  1. Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work
    Watch Time: 12 minutes

In this session, Shawn Achor explains how employees can train themselves to think more positively, which in turn promotes productivity and achievement.

The key takeaway: Mastering the art of constructive criticism is an important factor that boosts performance management. Positive appendage should not go unnoticed; it’s a powerful motivator. Organizations can incorporate positive reinforcement into their eLearning courses to drive productivity.

Our favorite part (at 8:01 minutes) and we quote: “75% of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.

2. Margaret Heffernan: Dare to Disagree
Watch Time: 13 minutes

In this video, Margeret Heffernan delivers a talk on “constructive conflict,” emphasizing how disagreement can surprisingly boost business performance. In order to prove her hypothesis, she goes on to say that instead of ignoring any kind of disagreement. It’s always wise to encourage open channels of communication on conflicting issues and encourage collaborative thinking to achieve solutions.

The key takeaway: Managers should encourage their teams to get involved in constructive conflict. Organizations should create such a workplace culture where teams welcome sharing different ideas and take them in a positive way.

Our favorite part (at 4:47 minutes) and we quote: “It’s a fantastic model of collaboration — thinking partners who don’t echo chambers.

3. Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership
Watch Time: 6 minutes

In this video, Drew Dudley argues that it’s time organizations started redefining the perception towards leadership. He suggests that leaders should be able to generate consistent initiatives and acts which can bring a difference — big or small.

The key takeaway: Organizations should create and nurture an amicable workplace environment where team members can showcase their leadership quality, for instance by complimenting peers for a job well done.

Our favorite part (at 5:31 minutes): “If you change one person’s understanding of [leadership], understanding of what they’re capable of, understanding of how much people care about them, understanding of how powerful an agent for change they can be in this world, you’ve changed the whole thing.”

Did you know: Only 22% of employees believe their management is very transparent, compared with 40% of managers?

4. Simon Sinek: Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe
Watch Time: 12 minutes

In this TED talk video, Sinek discusses the factors that make employees collaborate and look up to the leadership positions. He explains that good leaders are always a source of inspiration and that they play a vital role in boosting performance management through effective employee engagement.

Sinek claims that it’s humane to build trust where people feel safe. When employees feel protected by their leaders, they will naturally trust and cooperate more, thereby boosting performance management.

The key takeaway: There is a difference between authority and leadership. While authority figures simply hold a high rank and prefer to remind people of their rank, leaders earn trust by taking care of their employees and making them feel secure.

Our favorite part (at 8:04 minutes) and we quote: “Great leaders would never sacrifice people to save the numbers. They would sooner sacrifice the numbers to save the people“.

5. Steve Jobs: How To Live Before You Die
Watch Time: 15 minutes

This famous speech has been watched over 32 million times on YouTube. In his speech, Steve Jobs explains how being a college drop out didn’t stop him to achieve his dreams. Moreover, it allowed him to pursue his true passions, and ultimately establish the world’s one of the leading software companies.

Truth be told, I never graduated from college and this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to college graduation,” admitted Jobs.

Jobs admits that the most traditional path isn’t always the most useful option for creativity when it comes to performance management.

The key takeaway: Performance management involves embracing employees’ strengths, and being open to innovative ideas — even ones that change the status quo for employee engagement.

Our favorite part (at 8:27 minutes) and we quote: “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.

To conclude…

Leadership isn’t always defined by a set of fixed performance management strategies — it’s about inculcating believes that drive progress. If we summarize these above shared TED talks, great performance management and employee engagement demand for a perfect balance of positive reinforcement, collaboration, creativity, constructive criticism, and everyday leadership. So rather than building up the status quo, employees can challenge themselves to help evolve their leadership trait.

At Sparkwork, apart from providing one of the world’s Learning Experience Platforms, we also encourage our peers to add courses on employee engagement and performance management verticals. For as a company, we strongly believe, an organization can only thrive by cultivating transparency, trust, work-life balance, loyalty, and enthusiasm to name a few.