Why Leadership and Mentorship Does Not Need to Fail Us | Tony Tjan

Leadership and Mentorship
Leadership and Mentorship

Tony Tjan’s TEDx Talk on Leadership and Mentorship

In his insightful TEDxBeaconStreet talk, Tony Tjan discusses the importance of good leadership and mentorship, emphasizing the need for character and compassion in today’s world. Tjan, an entrepreneur, investor, and author, shares valuable insights from his research on leaders across various fields, and offers actionable advice for individuals and organizations.

The Crisis of Trust and the Need for Good Leadership

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in institutions such as government, media, business, and NGOs has been steadily declining over the past 17 years. Employee engagement, as measured by Gallup, has also stagnated at 32-33% over the past decade, leaving a staggering 67% of the workforce indifferent or wanting to quit their jobs.

Defining Good Leadership

Through his extensive research, Tjan found that good leadership is rooted in good people. Good leaders commit to character as much as competency and confidence. They help others become better versions of themselves, fostering growth and development. Tjan proposes three cornerstone values for good leadership: truth, compassion, and wholeness.

Truth involves humility, self-awareness, and integrity. Leaders should strive for self-congruence, aligning their thoughts, feelings, words, and actions.

Compassion begins with openness, extends to empathy, and culminates in acts of generosity. Compassionate leaders understand that leadership is a duty to serve others.

Wholeness redefines success as achieving self-satisfaction and peace through pursuing one’s calling to the best of one’s ability, rather than focusing on winning or losing.

Overcoming Challenges to Good Leadership

Tjan acknowledges that practicing good leadership is difficult due to everyday tensions, such as pragmatism versus idealism, grit versus acceptance, and short-termism versus long-termism. He asserts that short-termism, in particular, is detrimental to innovation, culture, and leadership.

Taking Action: Cultivating Good Leadership

Tjan suggests three steps to cultivate good leadership:

  1. Adopt a guiding principle of putting people first.
  2. Develop daily habits to practice goodness, such as the “optimism rule” (waiting 24 seconds, 24 minutes, or 24 hours before criticizing an idea).
  3. Ask better questions that demonstrate authentic listening and empathy.

The Impact of Good Leadership and Mentorship

By promoting good leadership and mentorship, we can create a ripple effect of positivity and growth. If each person positively impacts ten others, who in turn impact ten more, the potential for meaningful global change becomes a reality.


In conclusion, Tony Tjan’s TEDx Talk provides valuable insights and actionable advice for good leadership and mentorship. It emphasizes character, compassion, and a people-first approach. By embracing these principles, we can cultivate good leadership in ourselves and others. This contributes to meaningful change and addresses the trust crisis in our society. Sharing this video is essential to raise awareness about good leadership’s importance and our role in creating a better future.


YouTube Video – Why Leadership and Mentorship Does Not Need to Fail Us | Tony Tjan

YouTube Video – Why Leadership and Mentorship Does Not Need to Fail Us | Tony Tjan

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