Listen and learn – 9 leadership podcasts for business execs

The best leadership podcasts are packed with stories of success and failure, and deliver valuable knowledge and teachable moments – here are nine to try

Great leaders have one thing in common – they are continuous learners. Which is why podcasts are the perfect food for thought for those in leadership roles.

Not only can they help to build knowledge on the go, but they are packed full of inspirational success stories and teachable moments that are sure to enhance the way you lead.

Here are nine to try:

1 Entrepreneurs on Fire

Number of episodes 3,152

Overview Founded and hosted by John Lee Dumas, author of The Common Path to Uncommon Success, the award-winning Entrepreneurs on Fire podcast generates over a million listens monthly. In each episode, Dumas picks the brains of inspiring entrepreneurs providing listeners with both inspiration and practical strategies to help them ‘fire up’ their entrepreneurial journey. Dumas was the first podcaster to interview entrepreneurs and having undertaken 3,000 entrepreneurial stories to date, including interviews with Seth Godin, Barbara Corcoran and Tim Ferriss, he's pretty much got the genre sewn up. 

Platforms Spotify / Stitcher / Apple Podcasts / Google Podcasts / Acast

2 HBR IdeaCast

Number of episodes 882

Overview Hosted by HBR’s leading editors Alison Beard and Curt Nickisch, HBR Ideacast is an award-winning weekly podcast that shares important ideas from the pages of Harvard Business Review. Running since 2006, the podcast covers business strategy, innovation, leadership, and management. Episodes are 20-30 minutes long and include some serious business heavyweights, from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg to Mastercard’s Ajay Banga and General Motors’ Mary Barra discussing equally heavyweight (and relevant) topics from what leaders need to know about a looming recession, to recruitment strategies, improving AI outcomes and mastering the art of persuasion. Themed bonus episodes spotlight business ideas that changed the world

Platforms Apple Podcasts / Google Podcasts / Spotify / RSS / Overcast / RadioPublic

3 Leadership and Loyalty

Number of episodes 822

Overview Claiming to be a podcast that top Fortune 500 execs listen to, Leadership and Loyalty is a long-running series hosted by Dov Baron, named one of the Top 30 Global Leadership Gurus and bestselling author of books including One Red Thread. Baron interviews everyone from thought leaders and futurists to psychotherapists and professors to company founders and CEOs on a diverse range of intriguing and informative topics, from the power of data literacy to improving your company culture and embracing difficult conversations. Past guests have included Tom Bilyeu, co-founder of billion-dollar brand Quest Nutrition; Guy Kawasaki, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist; Dr Ellen Langer, the Mother of Mindfulness; Kevin Harrington, inventor of the infomercial; and Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard.

Platforms Apple Podcasts / Acast / Stitcher

4 Hacking Your Leadership

Number of episodes 664

Overview Chris Stark, an engagement consultant for Fortune 500 companies, and Lorenzo Flores, a leader at Apple, share four decades of combined experience to help listeners become better leaders. The focus of Hacking Your Leadership is on today’s leadership language, in particular the soft skills of empathy and emotional intelligence, and they deliver content designed to help leaders create cultures employees won’t want to leave. Among the many leadership questions raised and discussed: can you have both confidence and humility? Are your employees doing the right jobs? Is salary transparency a good thing? Can a person learn to be more empathetic?

Platforms Stitcher / Apple Podcasts / Deezer

5 Masters of Scale

Number of episodes 339

Overview More than just business interviews, original podcast series Masters of Scale hosted by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, is all about thinking boldly and differently about business and the world and explores and tests theories of scaling. In each episode, Hoffman introduces a different theory on how successful businesses scale and goes on to test and turn the validity of each theory via interviews with legendary business leaders about their path to scale with cameo appearances throughout from other leaders and voices. For example, one of the episodes features former President Barack Obama discussing ‘the right moment to act’ with a cameo appearance from the Black Eyed Peas. This concept results in an original format that demonstrates just how companies can grow from zero to infinite and shows how big concepts and simple hacks can change everything. Other big minds Hoffman has picked include Mary Barra, CEO of GM, on the company’s pandemic pivot; executive chairman of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger on how acquisitions become an ecosystem; and Melanie Perkins, CEO of Canva on the secret power of onboarding.  

Platforms Apple / Spotify

6 TED Business

Number of episodes 33

Overview TED Talks are well-known via video, but there’s also a podcast series, TED Business, launched in October last year, with weekly episodes hosted by Modupe Akinola, Associate Professor of Management and Director at Columbia Business School. Akinola presents the most powerful and surprising ideas that illuminate the business world, covering topics that include everything from setting smart goals and undoing injustice at work, to landing that promotion and unlocking the next big innovation.

Post-talk, Akinola offers a mini-lesson on how to apply the ideas to your own life. From 10 minutes to over an hour, recent episodes include ‘How AI can help us be more human by tech investor Kai-Fu Lee, ‘The unexpected habits of original thinkers’ by organisational psychologist Adam Grant and ‘How to lead in a crisis’ by leadership researcher Amy C. Edmondson.

Platforms Apple / Spotify

7 Dare to Lead with Brene Brown

Number of episodes 66

Overview Brene Brown’s latest podcast is based on her book, Dare to Lead, which debuted at #1 on the New York Times, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. Based on the premise that to innovate, create, and build a better and more just world requires daring leadership, Brene describes the podcast as a “mix of solo episodes and conversations with change-catalysts, culture-shifters, and as many troublemakers as possible. Brene talks to everyone from politicians and activists to CEOs and artists with recent interviews including with Beto O’Rourke, who is running for governor of Texas, on brave leadership; inclusion strategist Ruchika Tulshyan about the state of belonging at work; and neuroscientist Dr Amishi Jha on finding focus.

Platforms Spotify

8 Thinkers & Ideas

Number of episodes 65

Overview This podcast from the Boston Consulting’s think tank BCG Henderson institute (BHI) unearths inspiring and thought-provoking insights form leading thinkers about influential ideas on business, technology, economics, and science. Standout sessions include 2% Companies with the Dean of the Global Leadership Institute at the WEF; companies that pursue deep purpose with Harvard professor Ranjay Gulati; building net positive companies with former Unilever CEO Paul Polman; and redesigning work with HSM Advisory CEO Lynda Gratton.

Platforms Apple Podcasts / Spotify

9 A Bit of Optimism

Number of episodes 58

Overview Business speaker and bestselling author Simon Sinek brings his eternal optimism to the podcast platform with A Bit of Optimism – where he talks to a mix of guests, from executives to activists, researchers to athletes, about life and leadership. Among notable interviewees – retail executive Ann Marie Scichilli discusses the spirit of generosity; award-winning Harvard professor Amy Cuddy talks about finding your tribe; and the legendary CEO of manufacturing firm Barry-Wehmiller shares his thoughts on leadership. Typically running 30 minutes long each, the episodes delve into everything from the benefits of failure and the future of branding and design to resolving conflict and setting boundaries.

Platforms Stitcher / Apple Podcasts / Spotify

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