I’ve been talking and writing a lot about leadership lately. It’s a topic I am incredibly passionate about – because we are never going to raise the money we need to raise if we don’t have good leaders who inspire their teams.
Regardless of our age, or experience level – we all need to spend as much time learning about leadership as we do fundraising.
With that in mind, here are my top 5 favourite TED talks that I think every non-profit leader (present and future) should watch:
- Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe I am a HUGE fan of Simon Sinek. You probably know him from his book “Start With Why” – but it is this talk on the role of a leader that resonated with me. In 12 minutes, this TED talk succinctly summarized one huge problem with working in the non-profit world – we need to feel safe in our jobs to be truly successful.
“Great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people. Poor leaders sacrifice the people to save the numbers.” –Simon Sinek
- Dan Ariely: What makes us feel good about our work? What makes employees happy at work? Feeling like the work they are doing is making a difference. We need that to feel fulfilled in the work we do. IN FACT using salary to incentivise performance often has the exact opposite effect you want it to. Frankly, this is a video I wish I could force all fundraising directors, EDs and CEOs to watch Clockwork Orange style.
“There’s a mismatch between what science knows and what business does”
- Susan Cain: The power of introverts In a world where many charities treat major gifts like it is the best kind of fundraising, Susan Cain’s messages are bang on for our sector.
“I worry that there are people who are put in positions of authority because they’re good talkers, but they don’t have good ideas. It’s so easy to confuse schmoozing ability with talent. Someone seems like a good presenter, easy to get along with, and those traits are rewarded. Well, why is that? They’re valuable traits, but we put too much of a premium on presenting and not enough on substance and critical thinking.” –Susan Cain
- Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! How often does ego get in the way of good leadership? Too often in this fundraiser’s opinion. Being a great leader means you need to have the confidence to be vulnerable and LISTEN to your team.
“Nobody in this world can succeed alone” –Ernesto Sirolli
- Michael Norton: Money can buy happiness This TED talk has another powerful lesson on how to have happy, high performing teams: don’t spend money ON you team members – let them spend money helping each other.
“Teams that are pro-social sell more stuff” –Michael Norton
You’ll notice Dan Pallotta’s The way we think about charity is dead wrong isn’t on the list. Why? If you haven’t seen this TED talk, you may be living under a rock and I’m not sure this blog can help you. Just kidding, if you haven’t seen this one, it is also a must-watch.
That’s my list! What’s yours? Share your favourite TED Talk you think all non-profit leaders should watch in the comments below.
Written by Rory Green