Strong leadership is about more than just telling people what to do; it's that rare but inspirational combination of enthusiasm, humility, grace, power, and wisdom.
Here are 10 podcast episodes that will help you stand on the shoulders of giants when it comes to developing such qualities. Taken together, they'll make you into a strong, resilient leader and, quite possibly, a better human being:
1. "How Much Does a Good Boss Really Matter?" --Freakonomics
This episode uses data to demonstrate just how much of an impact a leader can have on an organization. A fascinating experiment is run on a company, leading to the discovery that switching out a low-quality leader for a high-quality one increases productivity even more than adding another worker.
2. "Contagious Culture With Anese Cavanaugh" --Art of Charm
Through their presence alone, leaders have a profound impact on the culture of a company. This episode explores how one person's presence can affect an entire roomful of people, and the macro-effect this can have on an organization. Importantly, it also outlines how to set up a healthy culture of leadership in your organization.
3. "Talking About Race at Work" --HBR Ideacast
Particularly salient in the current political environment, this episode covers how managers can start conversations about race that are actually productive. Critical in workplaces with diverse teams, this is arguably more needed now than ever. Don't wait for an incident or controversy to happen at your organization; be proactive about this issue and you'll stand out as a leader (regardless of your race).
4. "How to Become Batman" --Invisibilia
An ugly but important truth of human dynamics is that we all have hidden expectations. We expect things of others, whether romantic partners or the people on our team, and they expect things of us. This episode shows you how to reevaluate your expectations and see whether the thing limiting the performance of those with whom you work is, in fact, your own thoughts.
5. "Non-Linear Path to Leadership" --Stanford eCorner
Not everyone's path to success is straightforward (in fact, hardly anyone's is). It's vital to understand what that actually means, and how to take advantage of it. If you feel you could be an outstanding leader but have yet to truly step up, this is the right episode for you.
6. "Crisis and Response" --TED Radio Hour
Times of crisis can be opportunities for great cooperation, unity, and growth--or they can devolve into chaos and destruction. This episode explores how ordinary people as well as leaders handle crises, and how you can be better prepared to create the best outcome, even--or especially--in times of great distress.
7. "The Psychology of Visionaries With Justine Musk" --Unmistakable Creative
Want to graduate from being a good leader to being a great visionary? This one's for you. Author Justine Musk goes into what visionaries like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs have in common, and how to get started on thinking, feeling, and acting like a true visionary.
8. "When People Are Obstacles" --Good Fortune
Smart leaders know how to deal with difficult people skillfully, and it's often their ability to do so that sets them apart. This episode uses the philosophy of Stoicism as a way to explore tried-and-true methods of expertly handling even the most challenging people.
9. "Curing Stress and Anxiety as an Entrepreneur" --Foundr
You can't do anyone any good if you burn out, and good leaders know this. They've found ways of managing stress that leave them able to not just perform, but also to excel under pressure. This fascinating interview with marketing strategist Charlie Hoehn teaches you how to slow down, play more, and lead better.
We're often taught that business success means climbing the ladder with no regard for whose heads we step on to get up there. In this illuminating podcast, organizational psychologist Adam Grant demonstrates that, in fact, those who just take what they want don't actually succeed; the most successful are those who openly help others and share their connections.
"The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers." --Ralph Nader