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Home > Motivation & Thought LeadershipWorkplace lessons we can all learn from SRK's Ted TALK

Workplace lessons we can all learn from SRK’s Ted TALK

He’s Bollywood’s quintessential lover boy: Rahul, naam toh suna hoga? One of the Hindi film industry’s biggest hitmakers, Shah Rukh Khan stands tall as an example of how a simple boy from Delhi can hit it big in the City of Dreams, without any godfather. His journey, which began with 1989 TV series Fauji, led him to more than 80 films and has earned him numerous accolades, including the Padma Shri, the Légion d’honneur and 14 Filmfare Awards.

King Khan continues to enthrall, providing inspiration and motivation to all age groups across the world. His locker-room speech in Chak De is pretty much unforgettable but so are the many speeches he delivered at educational institutes such as Yale and Dhirubhai Ambani International school.

At the recent Ted TALK held at Vancouver, SRK was in august company. Elon Musk and Serena Williams were also sharing life lessons at the conference. But the Badshah of Bollywood had some special lessons that seemed just right for the workplace.

Believe in yourself, all the time

High self-esteem is your first step in believing in yourself. It shows that you respect your own self and builds self-confidence. Over time, it has an intense effect on your emotions, thinking, desires, values, happiness and goals. It’s important to think highly of yourself for people with high self-esteem uplift, inspire and empower. Shah Rukh has never shied away from believing in himself. “I sell dreams, and I peddle love to millions of people… I’ve been made to understand there are lots of you here who have never seen my work, and I feel really sad for you… “[I’m] completely self-obsessed, as a movie star should be,” he said at TED.

Tip: Make sure your self-esteem isn’t setting you up for obnoxious narcissism.

Humour can almost always provide a way out

We all know a smile can connect faster than long introductions and shared laughter can create a bond. In Humor As A Tool In Conflict Resolution, Michael Nagler and Karen Ridd wrote: “Humor can be very effective in establishing a human connection between parties in a conflict, and thereby defusing the conflict itself, though it can be very hard to remember when the heat is really on.” No one knows and wields the power of humour better than SRK. At the TED talk, he shared some personal and professional anecdotes, but his lungi dance was what brought the house down.

Tip: Remember to poke fun at the behavior or attitudes that are causing problems, not at the person.

As you age, look for ways to better yourself

SRK made his debut as a gangly youth in Fauji; he’s come a long way now – he’s 51. But the actor knows that he needs to keep on “shining nevertheless”. The first Indian film star to give a TED Talk, compared his “ageing” movie star persona to humanity. “Humanity is a lot like me. It’s an ageing movie star, grappling with all the newness around it, wondering whether it got it right in the first place and still trying to find a way to keep on shining regardless,” he said. Over time, SRK has consistently tried to explore new avenues and break away from expectations. Apart from being an actor, he’s a producer, co-owns an IPL team, is a frequent TV presenter and stage show performer, and endorses quite a few brands. But he’s still exploring. He returns to TV as the host of TED Talks’ Hindi version, titled TED Talks India: Nayi Soch, where he will play the role of curator Chris Anderson.

Tip: Keep working on yourself – this is one investment that will always pay off.

Make an effort to balance duality of a manager’s role

Why is Superman a hero? He has power, it’s true, but more than that it’s that he has the wisdom and the maturity to use that power wisely. The same is true of any manager or supervisor. In The Manager: Master and Servant of Power, an article in the Harvard Business Review, Fernando Bartolomé and André Laurent write that most managers are action oriented and “don’t fully realize, for example, how power differences can disturb interpersonal relations at work and, consequently, undermine organizational effectiveness”. As SRK said in Vancouver to loud applause: “You may use your power to build walls and keep people outside. Or you may use it to break barriers and welcome them in. You may use your faith to make people afraid and terrify them into submission. Or you can use it to give courage to people, so they rise to the greatest heights of enlightenment.”

Tip: Use your power as a manager wisely. Remember that blatant use of clout can never lead to effective working relationships.

“I’ve learned that whatever moves you, whatever urges you to create, build, whatever keeps you from failing, whatever helps you survive, is perhaps the oldest and the simplest emotion known to mankind, and that is love,” Khan said at the talk, putting into words what we all know to be true.

“The present you is brave. The present you is hopeful. The present you is innovative and resourceful. And, of course, the present you is annoyingly indefinable.” Let that be true…  

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