Everyday Leadership

TED Talk: Drew Dudley

Updated GOAL Academy


In the TED Talk Everyday Leadership, Drew Dudley explores the more nuanced aspects of leadership; those smaller actions that we choose on a daily basis that can individually or collectively have a profound impact on ourselves and others.

What You’ll Learn

After completing the work on this page, you will be able to:

  • Define everyday leadership in your own words
  • Describe the importance of everyday leadership
  • Recognize the myth that leadership is something bigger than you
  • Know that you are an agent of change

Watch the Video

Dig Deeper

After watching the video, reflect on the following questions. Jot down your thoughts. Consider sharing this video with a colleague or a work group for an insightful discussion.

  1. Have you ever been on the giving or receiving end of a “lollipop moment”?  What was the impact on you and the other person?
  2. In your own words, define everyday leadership.
  3. List one way you currently demonstrate everyday leadership.
  4. Develop one new way you can demonstrate everyday leadership and try it out for a week.

Write a Review

  1. I enjoyed Drew’s talk, and I think it has many relevant connections to the work each of us does for the National Park Service. I think his point that people can embody leadership without doing something on a large-scale level is particularly useful because there can be many obstacles in our park life to doing large-scale things. However each employee, regardless of title or grade level, has the power to do small things every day that can add up to making positive experiences for their colleagues, visitors, and community as a whole. I encourage everyone to watch Drew’s talk to find out what small things you can do to make a big difference.


  2. I think this talk is spot-on and inspiring. It is particularly relevant to NPS employees. Our culture has often conflated leadership with positions of influence. As a former seasonal employee of many parks, I witnessed leaders everyday in the field that gave “lollipop moments” to coworkers and visitors alike. I define leadership as “bring out the best from those around you.” This helps me handle “mundane” situations with more energy and care, and also helps center my anxiety in higher-stakes situations. Every moment is a lollipop moment when we are empowered to treat it as such. I will use this talk to empower my team members to recognize themselves and each other as leaders.


  3. For survival and preservation there is a human tendency to be self-centered and sometimes myopic. We get absorbed in our thoughts, opinions, and feelings and don’t always realize the positive and negative influences that we have when engaging with others. I think this video provides us with a great lesson on self-awareness, awareness of others, and situational awareness. An unsolicited kind gesture, smile, or compliment may unknowingly be that small ray of light to someone that is struggling, insecure, or down. It makes me want to pay better attention to those small physical cues to see if I can recognize “lollipop” moments where someone’s spirit was lifted.


  4. This is a short and sweet video that really reminds each person that they have impact in every interaction. My first thoughts went immediately to Customer Service – a good visitor experience can make a NPS lover for life.


  5. I loved the video but its conveying message is that “we need to create that lollipop moment in other’s life”. While thinking/feeling which grateful lollipop-moments I received from people, my discovery rather brought me to people who day in and day out support you with the best of their concerns. To me these are true leaders. These leaders often don’t take or are credited for being a mentor and some people that are being mentored often take it and them for granted. The ones that take them for granted aren’t good people that can help others later one in their careers. People that stop and realize what their lollipop moment was & who said it can truly change someone’s life in an extremely good way.

  6. I enjoyed the video very much. Thought-provoking and I think he has a great insight into how we can think about leadership. There is leadership in everyone .

  7. Reflection on small things or moments make the journey that much better. I have given and received lollipop moments throughout my life. I think it’s important to always have situational awareness for opportunities to help, even if it’s to highlight something good to a stranger. Smiles are contagious.


  8. The video highlights our need for self awareness and mindfulness. It is often the interactions we have with people that we as individuals might not consider significant in our own lives can be transformative in theirs. It highlights my need to rededicate myself to listening, caring, inspiring, coaching, and affecting change daily.


  9. This is a funny story! It shows how little actions by a person can cause ripple effects and positively influence people in ways they had not imagined. An interesting thing was that Drew totally forgot the whole interaction, yet his actions kicked off a transformative experience for not just one, but two people.


  10. As a supervisor and as an instructor, I try and keep in mind that the things I say and do in front of a group can have a lasting impact on the people I work with. This video helps to reinforce that as leaders we are (and should be) held to a higher standard in the ways we deal with people because the impact we have, positive or negative, can be so much more significant and lasting. Also, it is so incredibly rewarding when a former student writes or calls to say that a piece of advice or instruction was put to good use in their life or career. Good to know someone’s listening 🙂


  11. I absolutely loved the idea that Drew explores with his “lollipop moment.” It reminds us of the power that we have to make even everyday situations better, even when we don’t know it. We’ve all had these experiences with others, too. It’s like remembering that we all have the superpower of kindness and intention with our interactions with others–and we should always start from a place of love and care, whenever we can.


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