18 Best TED Talks for Team Building

By: | Updated: December 14, 2022

You’ve found our list of the top TED talks for team building.

TED talks for team building are informative presentations that explore various aspects of team dynamics. These presentations feature thought leaders and business authorities sharing their expertise. By sharing online videos of past TED talks, you can introduce your team members to valuable ideas that make their work experience more meaningful. Examples of TED talks for team building are Amy Edmondson’s How to Turn a Group of Strangers into a Team, Patrick Lencioni’s Are You an Ideal Team Player, and Robin Hooker’s A Makerspace for Everyone. ”

You can present TED talks for team building as virtual team building activities and incorporate them into team building activities for small groups. These videos also provide your teams with online access to enlightening keynote speakers.

This list includes

  • TED talks about building high performing teams
  • TED talks about effective team communication
  • TED talks about team management
  • team TED talks
  • funny TED talks about teamwork

List of the best TED talks for team building

Whether you are hoping to learn more about how to help your team succeed or wondering how your team building skills measure up, these TED talks will provide insight to assist.

1. How to Turn a Group of Strangers into a Team by Amy Edmondson

Amy Edmondson provides an intriguing take for leaders seeking TED talks about building high performing teams. Her studies have tracked instances where team creation happens quickly for the sake of resolving emergencies. In these moments, strangers become a functioning team quickly out of necessity. Edmondson uses the 2010 mine collapse in Chile that trapped more than 30 miners half a mile underground as an example. She explains how learning by experimentation and willingness to take risks help forge a team when time is of the essence.

Watch How to Turn a Group of Strangers Into a Team.

2. Teamwork Reimagined by Kevin Cahill

Not all teamwork adheres to the same set of standards. With Teamwork Reimagined, Kevin Cahill explains how thinking in terms of “we” instead of “me” can add value to a group and multiply the benefits of team culture. Collaboration possibilities are a driving factor in Cahill’s vision of a new type of team, one where community is a defining element. Cahill shares anecdotes and his experiences with various groups to illustrate the need to identify your organization’s objective and develop it as a group.

Watch Teamwork Reimagined.

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3. Build a Tower, Build a Team by Tom Wujec

With a simple team exercise that uses three household objects, Tom Wujec demonstrates the dynamics of building an effective team. The objective of the exercise is to create the tallest tower using spaghetti, marshmallows, string, and tape. Wujec has conducted workshops that feature this exercise, learning that when posed to teams in real life, the groups who end up winning the challenge are not always the groups you would expect. That group, surprisingly, is kindergarteners! This video gives a lighthearted look at how teams can defy expectations with a simple shift in thinking.

Watch Build a Tower, Build a Team.

4. Are You an Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni

Communicating clear standards for what qualities a successful team player can help your workers achieve new heights of teamwork. Patrick Lencioni is an author who has written about team dynamics in business and the workplace. In this TED talk, Lencioni leads an enlightening session covering the importance of critical aspects that make a worker a valuable team member. According to his video, qualities such as humility, a sense of personal ambition, and genuine emotional intelligence are the most useful characteristics for a team member to possess. Lencioni explains why these attributes matter so much as he shares how he came to his conclusions.

Watch Are You an Ideal Team Player.

5. How Diversity Makes Teams More Innovative by Rocio Lorenzo

Having an array of backgrounds and viewpoints represented can turn your humble crew into a power team. Rocio Lorenzo explores how diversity can provide innovation when assembling a team. Lorenzo led a group that studied more than 150 teams to determine whether intentional diversity positively impacts the organization. In her TED talk, Lorenzo shares her findings that having a diverse team provides creativity and innovation that contributes positively to a company’s success, defying the expectations of some of her skeptical team members.

Watch How Diversity Makes Teams More Innovative.

6. First Step to Collaboration? Don’t Be So Defensive! by Jim Tamm

TED talks about effective team communication can help your employees discover a more meaningful way to get their ideas across. Former attorney and judge Jimm Tamm discusses the need for individuals to drop their defensiveness to create a collaborative atmosphere. When team members can sidestep conflict before it begins, the whole group has a better chance of successfully achieving their goals. Tamm explores the idea that star performers can suppress the abilities of their teammates, defining cooperative environments as green zones and competitive environments as red zones. His observations provide strategies to help workers recognize and reroute their defensive behaviors to maintain a more agreeable state of mind.

Watch First Step to Collaboration? Don’t Be So Defensive!

7. Play This Word Game to Come Up With Original Ideas by Shimpei Takahashi

You can find funny TED talks about teamwork that take a more playful approach to the topic, like the one given by toy developer Shimpei Takahashi. In his creativity-stimulating game, players take turns saying words that begin with the last letter of the previous word. For example, banana, ambulance, echo. The objective is to force connections between new words and start thinking in new directions. Having a proven means for providing fresh inspiration can keep your team from running aground when generating new ideas. With a simple word game in your arsenal like the one Takahashi uses, you have a powerful tool to keep the creativity flowing.

Watch Play This Word Game to Come Up With Original Ideas.

8. 3 Ways to Measure Your Adaptability and How to Improve It by Natalie Fratto

TED talks about team management include this revealing method for choosing potential members for your team. Natalie Fratto, a venture capitalist who invests in start-ups, explains what she looks for in a potential partner and gives a three-pronged approach to gauging adaptability to determine how effective your workers are as team members. A combination of “what if” questions, recognition of the ability to unlearn old information to make room for new data, and a sense of exploration are components that let Fratto know she has found a partner with whom she can mesh. This technique can also help your workers recognize their adaptability shortcomings while offering methods for strengthening this necessary trait.

Watch 3 Ways to Measure Your Adaptability and How to Improve It.

9. How Generational Stereotypes Hold Us Back at Work by Leah Georges

Having workers of varying ages is important to maintaining a team’s diversity. However, workers in a particular generation can have difficulty understanding and accepting workers in another generation. Social psychologist Leah Georges clarifies how stereotypes among the five generations—the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z—can hinder the success of teams and individuals. Georges provides a helpful explanation of each generation, then challenges the existence of these groups. Georges also demonstrates how preconceived notions limit the potential of a multigenerational workforce. The resulting message explains that workers from all generations have traits that call for understanding and compassion.

Watch How Generational Stereotypes Hold Us Back at Work.

10. A Makerspace for Everyone by Robin Hooker

Equality is key to a team’s success, but ensuring team members have equal access to resources and opportunities is sometimes tricky. Robin Hooker reimagines a creative workspace where the barriers come down, and workers can create and collaborate freely. These makerspaces allow diverse teams to assemble on-the-fly, in a place where each worker can contribute their ideas and others can help bring them to life. For teams that require creativity to excel, team TED talks like Hooker’s inspire and become tools and help you reimagine collaboration.

Watch A Makerspace for Everyone.

11. The New Power of Collaboration by Howard Rheingold

According to Howard Rheingold, media and communication are essential to the survival of the group. His speculations about the need for collaboration have been a critical feature of humanity since the dawn of civilization. The advancement of technology and social institutions have signaled that being cooperative is sometimes more important than competition. In his TED talk, Rheingold explains that collaboration, sharing of information, and teamwork are necessary for human development to advance.

Watch The New Power of Collaboration.

12. Innovative Team Building by Karen Grosz

Professional coach Karen Grosz demonstrates the principles of team building through collaborative art experiences. In her TED talk, she explains how owning a ceramics studio paved the way for her to use painting as a means of connecting groups, even individuals without an artistic background. Her early workshops revealed the power of group art to inspire vulnerability, insight, and understanding that may not arise otherwise. Grosz now uses her team art format to help groups forge essential bonds through shared creativity.

Watch Innovative Team Building.

13. The Power of Deliberate Creative Teams by Amy Climer

When creativity combines with purpose, the power of a team multiplies. Amy Climer shares her experiences with being open to the creative process to help strengthen a team. Rather than hiring creatives and leaving them to their work, Climer describes how to inspire and stimulate the creative spark of deliberate work. Innovation is a dynamic that team members and leaders can encourage and model by promoting team purpose, group dynamics, and a shared creative process. By structuring a team for intentional creativity, an organization can better facilitate a successful group experience.

Watch The Power of Deliberate Creative Teams.

14. The Puzzle of Motivation by Dan Pink

Keeping team members motivated is sometimes challenging for leaders. However, by understanding what drives motivation, you can find a more direct path to helping your workers stay engaged. Dan Pink’s 2009 TED talk uses humor and personal experience to showcase the misconception that incentivizing workers inspires creativity and explains how the business model of carrot and stick stifles motivation rather than driving it. Having studied the science of how teams can be better motivated, Pink explains how having flexibility as a leader and adapting your motivational model is the best way to keep your team driven.

Watch The Puzzle of Motivation.

15. Tribal Leadership by David Logan

Without realizing it, individuals align themselves with tribes in work settings and everyday life. Logan defines tribes as groups of between 20 and 100 individuals. These groups have similar values and interests that, together, are greater than their individual specialties. Leaders understand the various levels of tribal interaction and can benefit from knowing how to communicate with groups based on their levels. Successful tribal communication by a leader can help bring the whole team to a higher level, which leads to purposeful connections between tribes. Logan’s viewpoint is enlightening when determining how a leader can lift a team out of the status quo and inspire them to new achievements.

Watch Tribal Leadership.

16. World’s Greatest Workplace by Vishen Lakhiani

Vishen Lakhiani, owner and CEO of Mindvalley, shares the five ways he has attempted to build the best company in the world. Mindvalley addresses aspects such as happiness, purpose, and personal growth to provide a workspace that benefits the workers and the organization. Lakhiani’s organization offers beautiful workspaces for employees to enjoy and allows flexible schedules that make sense for each individual’s lifestyle. Reimagining aspects like team meetings to make them less stressful and gamifying work-based achievement has led to a more engaged workforce for Mindvalley. Being named the Most Democratic Workplace by World Blu for 11 years in a row speaks to the value of giving employees a say in how their workplace functions.

Watch World’s Greatest Workplace.

17. Got a Meeting? Take a Walk by Nilofer Merchant

Conference rooms and offices may not be the most productive setting for your team meetings. As Nilofer Merchant explains, a change of scenery and a breath of fresh air can stimulate new thoughts and better ideas. This TED talk centers on the health dangers of sitting for too long in the workplace, and the inspiration that arises when you stand and walk instead. In addition to offering a more healthful approach to work habits, walking meetings can help keep productivity flowing for you and your team.

Watch Got a Meeting? Take a Walk.

18. How to Disagree Productively and Find Common Ground by Julia Dhar

It is possible to disagree with your teammates and still accomplish your common goals. Former debate champion Julia Dhar explains the best approach for turning disagreements into opportunities. The secret is deciding on a shared reality and keeping a person’s ideas separate from their identity. These techniques can help teams focus on the issues at hand without responding to the status of the people proposing solutions. With this removal of personal identity, Dhar reveals, the ideas on the table become solvable for all team members participating in the discussion.

Watch How to Disagree Productively and Find Common Ground.


Including TED talks among your team building resources gives you a ready-made solution you can tap into whenever you want. Sharing a link to a quick video with a request for your team to watch at their convenience is a great way to begin. Setting up a time to watch TED talks with your team members in person or virtually is even better!

Next, check out this list of songs about teamwork and this list of professional development ideas.

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FAQ: TED talks for team building

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about TED talks for team building.

What are the best TED talks for team building?

The best TED talks for team building include How Generational Stereotypes Hold Us Back at Work by Leah Georges, which explores issues stemming from preconceived notions about cross-generational team members, and First Step to Collaboration: Don’t Be So Defensive by Jim Tamm, which explains how to identify and remove boundaries that can make teamwork challenging.

What are some TED talks about team building?

Some TED talks about team building are How to Turn a Group of Strangers into a Team by Amy Edmondson, How Diversity Makes Teams More Innovative by Rocio Lorenzo, and Build a Tower, Build a Team by Tom Wujec. These videos tackle different aspects of team building to provide guidance on various useful topics.

Why should you watch TED talks with your teams?

You should watch TED talks with your teams to share new perspectives from experts who have studied ways to improve and ensure effective teamwork. When you watch along with your crew, you can start an ongoing conversation with your workers regarding how best to keep the team thriving and succeeding. As new issues arise, you can view a TED talk that addresses the topic and encourages your team members to participate in solving the problem.

Author avatar


People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at teambuilding.com. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.


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