Companies spend a crazy amount of money each year training their employees--on average, $1,208 per employee, as of 2013. A lot of time and resources are sunk into developing better leaders within organizations.
But does it have to be such a process? Not always. Publishing and materials that once would have cost a fortune and been available only to a select few have been democratized by the internet and are readily available online.
We're not talking low-quality instruction, either. Take online learning portal Udacity, for example. It was developed by Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford professor and the inventor of Google's driverless car, to make top-quality education available to everyone.
TED Talks are another source of quality, reputable instruction, and inspiration, on everything from entertainment to design to science--and leadership.
These videos, ranging from just three to a little over 20 minutes in length, offer incredible leadership insight. Check them out:
1. Simon Sinek's "How Great Leaders Inspire Action"
Leadership expert Simon Sinek knows his stuff. A strategic communications professor at Columbia, he's also the author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action and Leaders Eat Last.
In this epic TED Talk that has received more than 24 million views, Sinek explores how leaders can inspire cooperation, trust, and change. If you're looking for a quick hit on how to be more persuasive and lead people to take the actions you desire, you can afford to invest 18 minutes in this amazing talk.
2. Sheryl Sandberg's "Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders"
A smaller percentage of women than men will ever reach the upper echelons of their chosen profession. Why is that?
Facebook COO and storied businesswoman Sheryl Sandberg shares three powerful pieces of advice for women who want to lead and are aiming for the C-suite.
3. Derek Sivers's "How to Start a Movement"
Derek Sivers's iconic TED talk on leadership has been viewed nearly five million times, largely because it's super impactful but less than four minutes long! And that's the thing--sometimes, the most important lessons don't require long, drawn-out instruction.
Sometimes, it just takes a powerful visual representation.
Check out Sivers's succinct and inspirational discussion about the social phenomenon of leadership and how we choose who gets to lead.
4. Dan Ariely's "What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?"
A good leader knows that to persuade people to take action, you need to make them feel good about what they're doing. Still, that's often easier said than done.
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, author of bestsellers Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, shares his unique perspective on what makes us feel good about the work we do. He illustrates the importance of this concept through the surprising results of two experiments on attitudes toward meaning in our work. In understanding this, leaders can more effectively inspire and motivate those around them to succeed.
5. Rosalinde Torres's "What It Takes to Be a Great Leader"
Do you have what it takes to be a great leader? Leadership expert Rosalinde Torres acknowledges that there are a ton of great leadership programs out there, but despite the availability of these resources, more than half of companies have a talent gap for leadership roles.
After spending 25 years of her life observing what makes great leaders, she's sharing the three critical questions potential leaders need to ask to survive and thrive in the future.
Still hungry for free resources to help build your leadership skills? Check out this collection of the 16 best entrepreneurship and leadership articles published in 2014.