It's always interesting and inspiring to hear the stories behind some of the world's most inspirational, high-performing leaders.

One thing most leaders have in common is they didn't go without their fair share of challenges and road blocks to get to their level.

Here, Sonder's Head of Enterprise David Watson, shares some leaders who he finds inspiring and how you can learn from them.

Simon Sinek

British-American author, podcaster and inspirational speaker is all about optimism.

His 2009 TED talk on the concept of WHY catapulted him into the spotlight when he unpacked the most powerful model for inspirational leadership - using leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Apple - starts with asking the question, "Why?".

He has since penned a number of best-selling books including Start With Why, Leaders Eat Last, Together is Better, Find Your Why and The Infinite Game. You can find those books here.

Simon also has a fantastic podcast called A Bit of Optimism where every week he chats to people that inspire him on everything from love and life to leadership and silver linings. His main aim for listeners is to ensure they walk away from listening to the podcast with a little bit of optimism they perhaps didn't have before.

You can listen to his podcast here on Apple devices or here for Android devices.

Dr. Margaret Heffernan

After a 13 year career producing for the BBC, Margaret moved to the US to spearhead multimedia productions and become Chief Executive of Information Corporation, ZineZone Corporation and then iCast corporation.

She was then named one of the "Top 100 Media Executives" by The Hollywood Reporter. So it's safe to sat she knows a thing or two about leadership.

Margaret's TED talk on organisations using "the superchicken model" - essentially whereby value is placed on star employee who outperform others - aimed to spark a radical rethink on what drives people to do their best work, what it means to be a leader and the notion that, "Companies don't have ideas. Only people do."

While she has a number of books under her belt, Margaret's Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes, is based off the above idea of creating a better workplace. "This book is aimed at everyone - from the CEO to the janitor - who wants a better place to work," says Margaret. "It looks at the accumulation of small, everyday thoughts and habits that generate and sustain culture. A powerful manifesto for CEOs and managers alike."

You can purchase the book here, or audio book here.

Adam Grant

An organisation psychologist, Adam is a leading expert on how to find motivation and meaning to live a more creative and generous life.

He hosts WorkLife, a chart-topping TED original podcast that takes listenings into the mind's of some of the world's most unusual professionals to explore how to make work life not, well, suck. From learning to love criticism, to harnessing power of frustration, this podcast will help you see your job and career differently, in the best way possible.

Adam's book, Think Again, is another winner. In it, he investigates how in our jobs we can embrace the joy of being wrong, look at the advantages of imposter syndrome (yes they exist!) and build schools, workplaces and communities of lifelong learners. It asks readers to unpack how they view intelligence - instead of seeing it as the ability to think and learn, what might matter more is your ability to rethink and unlearn what you know, or you think you know.

You can purchase the book here, or the audio book here.

Fred Kofman

Executive coach and advisor on leadership and culture, Fred has worked for the likes of LinkedIn, Microsoft, Facebook and Google.

He also founded Conscious Business Center International, an organisation that offers online coaching programs.

His book Conscious Business, How to Build Value through Values aims to teach readers to find their passion for their work and express their values through that work. Fred explains that a conscious business seeks to promote the "intelligent pursuit of happiness" in all stakeholders.

You can purchase the book here, or the audio book here.


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All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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