Using Story as a Leader (click to listen to this message at 1:59)
A good story makes a connection, setting the stage for trust and believability. As a storytelling leader, people want to know something about who you are and why they should believe you.
Stephen Denning, renowned in his work on using storytelling in leadership, says organizations benefit especially by using stories to inspire people to action, to share information, knowledge and values, to counteract bad news, to assist them in working together, and to lead them into the future.
It is not enough for people to understand what you want them to do; they need to be shown why. A good story can make that point real for them. People need to be led to the ‘belief space.’ This is where they connect with actions that answer the question, “What does it look like for me to do something today to move closer to the goals?”
I experienced using story to inspire back when I was leading a division of 80+ people. It was my first real experience with Desire & Intent; although I didn’t know that term then. During a leadership workshop we were working through a section entitled ‘Share an Inspiring Vision.’ As I thought about how to share this with the people in my division, I was surprised at how I recorded it.
Believing that my role is to:
– Lead an organization that removes all barriers standing in the way of tomorrow
– Equip and support individuals to perform at maximum efficiency and satisfaction
– Change as required by the needs of these individuals
… Learning and Opportunity will be limitless.
While I don’t have space here to tell about all that happened, great things did occur. People became more connected with the big picture of what was going on. Individuals took more personal accountability in their own career development. Communication opened up. And my leadership index, a tool used to measure the effectiveness of leadership, climbed to the upper 90s and 100s on every question.
Sharing my Desire & Intent was my way of telling a brief story that came from my core. A story that represented what I truly desired for each person and what I intended for them to experience together.
Have a great story to tell and tell it greatly.