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Stop Managing, Start Leading | Hamza Khan | TEDxRyersonU

Published on Aug 24, 2016 573,693 views

According to Hamza, managing millennials and knowledge workers the way we used to manage traditional factory workers can be disastrous. Speaking through his own experience of being managed and alternatively as a manager, Hamza makes the case that millennials must be lead, instead of managed and given autonomy to complete their tasks, so that they may grow and reach their full potential.

If you ask Hamza Khan about his role as a manager, he’ll tell you his approach to managing is to avoid it altogether. Before his success as an award-winning digital marketer and entrepreneur, Hamza was a student struggling to find a practical outlet for his creativity while pursuing a degree in business and political science at the University of Toronto Scarborough. In his third-year of university, Hamza switched his major and received a Bachelor of Arts to facilitate a future career in creative multimedia and storytelling. Since graduating, he has worked as a graphic designer and marketer, and teaches social media strategy at Seneca College. He is also credited with making Ryerson University Canada’s leading university in online student engagement.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

  • Yash Sharma
    Yash Sharma 1 month ago This is highly useful for my media team. YouTube is gold. ♥️🙏🏼
  • Auwal Adamu Gaya
    Auwal Adamu Gaya 5 months ago I like his concluding point, where he said: "you manage things and you lead people".
  • Hamza Khan
    Hamza Khan 5 months ago It's the truth, Auwal.
  • Jeffrey Aborot
    Jeffrey Aborot 1 week ago (edited) Though I agree with most of his points, I think he missed to mention one thing, discipline. Teams such as Navy SEAL teams are highly empowered yet also highly disciplined. Their work also requires real-time creativity, real-time resourcefulness, and laser-level precision. You can't really do high-precision tasks as a team without being highly disciplined as individuals and as a team. Still, he raised good points in his talk.
  • Shaun Lott
    Shaun Lott 6 months ago (edited) This is an excellent way to breakdown how to get the members of your team to outperform the traditional norms. I am a 1969 baby and Hamza Khan is absolutely right. In order for individuals to exceed your expectations and the expectations they have set for themselves, you must lead them! Let them go! People who are managed hate to go work on Monday. They are always watching the second hand tick around the clock and they are not as productive. Individuals who are 'properly' led are inspired [influenced] to be great. They virtually never leave 'work' because they are committed to the success of the organization. You manage systems and processes. You lead people. Great talk @HamzaK
  • Hamza Khan
    Hamza Khan 5 months ago You've beautifully captured the heart of my talk, Shaun. Thank you for your kind words!
  • Romeyo Chill
    Romeyo Chill 8 months ago I think his idea of leadership is great. But this works more in creative fields. Sometimes, it doesn't work in other fields though.
  • Tairov, G.
    Tairov, G. 2 weeks ago Alex Tikh Service industry for one. Retail. Food. Hospitality. Banking. Government. Military. No one is going to to tolerate tardiness. The business is open and ready to serve the client. No one wants flakes. No one needs your sensitive creativity. You have a task and you simply do it. Leaders still lead. They help you grow. Help you learn. And help you achieve and move to the higher goals. I do not disagree however that there are industries that will entertain and cultivate your quirks. But it is not universal.
  • Joshua Garner
    Joshua Garner 4 months ago @Alex Tikh like anyone where things need to get done that day
  • faster weightloss
    faster weightloss 5 months ago @Iwan Park not really. You can run it like a gig economy. Announce available shifts and have signups as first come first served.
  • Iwan Park
    Iwan Park 5 months ago Factory workers...
  • Phillip Tan
    Phillip Tan 5 months ago Based on my experience where we manage staff for other people, the principles do apply but at different levels. Autonomy is good for everyone and it does motivate people to be able to decide on all, if not, certain aspects of their work. In our case, since our clients dictate the time their staff needs to work, we give liberty on how and when people take their breaks. So, we need to use good judgment in the actual application of these principles. It's not an either or choice, rather a continuum and we need to see where we should be. There are times when we influence clients to give more flexibility either on time or tasks as well. Where that happens, we see engagement improve. Functions where on time and reliability is essential, such as in customer-facing functions, staff need to be disciplined in reporting to agreed time.
  • DrTammy Brazil
    DrTammy Brazil 5 months ago Miracle On 34th Street
  • SiaarZH
    SiaarZH 5 months ago oh boy are you wrong. as soon as you start believing your work/industry is non-creative you stop looking for opportunity to make it so.
  • Étienne Bongo
    Étienne Bongo 5 months ago I think leadership is everywhere it's not necessary depends on the field.
  • Heriberto Vizcarra
    Heriberto Vizcarra 5 months ago If you think you can't, you can't. If you think you can...
  • Zjoon
    Zjoon 5 months ago therapy. My team has a hard time meeting monthly quotas and entering documentation in on time.
  • Alex Tikh
    Alex Tikh 6 months ago Like in which ones?
  • Ragd0ll
    Ragd0ll 1 year ago I was at this event, phenomenal speaker. I've actually since become a TA at Ryerson and have folded Hamza's management advice into how I run my classes.
  • Hamza Khan
    Hamza Khan 1 year ago Thanks! And congratulations on the TA gig! I'm really glad to hear the lessons from the talk are helping you run your classes. Very, very cool.
  • Michael Beres
    Michael Beres 19 hours ago This is a high-level summarization of Waterfall Project Management (Theory Y and Theory X and Maslow's Hierarchy) and the Agile mindset (Leadership over Management). For me this a rehash of my university studies of management and my PMP and Agile certifications. Nothing new here, just a repackaging of existing theories and practices that he is narrowly defining for creative work.
  • K Ski
    K Ski 2 months ago I love this concept. In pracical use, one can effectively lead a team without trying to "hurd" a group to do the work. Instead, a manager can set the expectation that we will all get to our end goal together. This, in effect, helps all involved to love their work and feel like they are all a part of something.
  • C Driver
    C Driver 8 months ago He speaks as if all workers are self starters and self directed very progressive talk yet not practical for many industries.
  • Chris V. Noire.
    Chris V. Noire. 1 month ago Shows how little you know about human capacity. Its not about consciousness...its about whats needed to keep a job. Create the right culture and the people will either stay and change for the better or fire themselves because they could not keep up with the workplace culture.
  • Chris V. Noire.
    Chris V. Noire. 1 month ago @Fetchem1222 Not for long. If you have wrong people they don't get to stay.
  • Nikola Genchev
    Nikola Genchev 2 months ago True, in factories everything is set and planned years ahead. It is pretty hard to implement lots of creativity, even tho we all have infinite potential of it.
  • Fetchem1222
    Fetchem1222 2 months ago This is good Ted makes ya feel good. If you have the wrong people you’re going to have issues. Period
  • dragon fly
    dragon fly 3 months ago sounds like you are a manager
  • polishp86
    polishp86 3 months ago All employees can be, you have to have a clear vision and mission that resonates—those that don’t fit it usually self eliminate, you can eliminate the others that don’t eliminate themselves.
  • Paul Burton
    Paul Burton 3 months ago Nonsense! He speaks about treating individuals as adults and equipping them to flourish and not controlling them.
  • Khairallah Hamza
    Khairallah Hamza 6 months ago Exactly, it would be true if all the employees were at a certain level of consciousness
  • OranDennison
    OranDennison 5 months ago Google also thought managers were unnecessary so they started Project Oxygen to prove it. Instead, they learned that good managers are vital, and they learned why and how. Check it out for a well-informed alternate perspective. I agree with Hamza that leadership is really important too, but it doesn’t have to be just one or the other.
  • John Love
    John Love 3 weeks ago As a former High performance Sales Manager- Going 27 consecutive quarters w sales growth and 34 out of 35 quarters- one of the main contributing factors was me telling my sales team to never address me as their manager! I told them that your parents didnt raise you for 18 years, take you from totally depending on them and teach you independent living skills , so you can enter the world with a label on your forehead saying, management position available, please inquire inside!! No! No ! Never call anyone your manager! You are the manager of yourself and your life! That position is never delegate to someone else!! No one wants to be managed!! We love to be influence by individuals who know how to lead!! Especially those who are leading their life successfully! We all learn how to walk and talk by observing others and relying on ourselves!! Just get out of people ways and see them figure things out!! Thats how we all learn to walk!! We were and are relentless individuals!
  • Alex Blériot
    Alex Blériot 2 months ago Very inspiring Hamza, love your speech
  • Tairov, G.
    Tairov, G. 2 weeks ago (edited) Nice speech. Compelling. Perhaps, even inspiring for someone. But the “treat us, millennials, differently” cliche does not always apply. There are organizations and companies that could not be as flexible and undisciplined. Service industry, industrial facilities, hospitals, retail, food service, hospitality, banking, military, government, even some academia. No one is going to tolerate tardiness. The business opens at a set time and ready to serve the clients. No one wants or can afford sensitive flakes. No one needs your creativity. You have a task and you simply do it. Leaders still lead. They help you grow. Help you learn. And help you achieve and move on to the higher professional planes. I do not disagree however that there are industries that will entertain and cultivate your quirks. It is not universal, as Mr. Hamza describes. Not everyone can operate by hiring telecommuters.
  • bleek760
    bleek760 2 months ago This sounds beautiful in theory. What about the laziness? Why assume we are not(lazy) how does this the fact there is millions of distractions.
  • ing wit
    ing wit 1 month ago This is not a theory. If the work doesn't get done, intervene when key timelines or quality is not met. Most information professionals want to get their work done and to get a good job. For certain jobs, facetime is needed, but it can be modified.
  • freddy6toes
    freddy6toes 4 months ago Yeah nobody likes to be micromanaged. But still what does that have to do with showing up to work on time. Sometimes I show up to work 30 to an hour early to do work and not get paid for it. Sometimes I take my work home and try to find things to improve and help myself succeed because I love my job. I am very involved with it and it is more than just a check. Money is irrelevant to happiness. I actually try to take on many more tasks than I am required to because I want to continue to shape the environment/culture where I work and influence other people to do the same. I am in a leadership role. I am also a millennial. This video was directed at a specific work group. There are many much better educational videos or books on leadership and management. I was dissapointed by this video.
  • i Am Mr Chazz
    i Am Mr Chazz 5 months ago This guy's very impressive. Theys no question about that
  • Hamza Khan
    Hamza Khan 5 months ago Thanks!
  • Alfadel Yousif
    Alfadel Yousif 2 months ago Brilliant talented and sharp insights. Thanks a lot.
  • Kultar Ruprai
    Kultar Ruprai 2 years ago I'd work for Hamza.Real Talk. #LeadersLead
  • Mos Amaze
    Mos Amaze 5 months ago How you work with muslims, you sikh?!
  • Kultar Ruprai
    Kultar Ruprai 1 year ago Anytime. Drop me a message. Twitter, email. whatever suits.
  • Hamza Khan
    Hamza Khan 2 years ago I would be honoured to work with you, my man. Let's make this CA x UK collaboration happen.
  • Carletta Goodrich Mann
    Carletta Goodrich Mann 5 months ago A leadership of skilled disciplines. SOunds like you are a motivator a disciple granted to stage the creation of moving US forward. Thank YOU. BE BLESSED my friends
  • Hamza Khan
    Hamza Khan 5 months ago Bless!
  • Cabdullaahi Bootaan
    Cabdullaahi Bootaan 2 years ago I need to watch this Talk again and again.
  • ilhaan hamza
    ilhaan hamza 6 months ago +Hamza Khan ...i already did. I love the way u speak. I'm having the same kinda issues with my leaders or should I call em managers. They just manage n do not lead which I feel I can given the right platform.
  • Hamza Khan
    Hamza Khan 2 years ago Please do! And share it with anyone else who might benefit from this message.