A story is not an intermission in the flow of a busy life. A story is evidence of a meaningful plot polished by the acts; the right script. Through story, leaders assist us in seeing the future in our present commitments and actions. The interlude of story is concentrated present-moment power. The interlude is intended to respond and fill a need in the present; keeping us encouraged in the unfolding story.
The balance of experience teaches you about selfless stillness where you hear a narrative right for your voice. In the same manner, experience – the balance of the busy and the blank – is a great collective encourager when enhanced by the love of a storyteller. In the story, we allow experience to teach, exhort, and encourage while leading us away from the repetition of costly mistakes. In the momentum of story, the leader opens the portal of the present where together we enter our collective future.
A well-told story benefits both teller and hearer. It is tempting to be caught-up in the thrill of telling and set oneself up to miss the bounty of the telling obligation. As a teller, there is much for which to account and respond. The loving teller assumes the role of treasurer for the bounty of meaning available in how a story is told and how the presentation opens the possibilities for meaning.
Your joy of telling comes from the love you have for those who hear; from those who have joined in the telling. Engagement – freeing individual imagination – fulfills the need of the hearer. The need of the teller is fulfilled in the act of telling as he or she benefits from this loving act.
As a loving storyteller, you collect meaning in a manner respectful of the individual. This meaning is subsequently released when shared. From the specific story, you connect us in the unity of the general. As a loving leader, you offer latitude for assemblage; creating the symphonizing of a collective.
In the 21st Century, you cannot even pretend to have all the answers; nor should you. However, you must create the space where those answers can be collectively discovered; putting the collective what before the collective how. Collective voice is about what to tell. The loving leader does not allow us to sell our collective self out to what others might think. In any given strategic action, we demonstrate what we think about us. Focused together on collective impact, we do not wait to act on what we know we ought to do.
Create the space for collective practice (present-moment unfolding of the story) and the subsequent blending of individual stories. The demand for 21st Century impact will only be met through the aware, focused, and loving leader.
For more like this and the developing series around the 7 skills, see: 21st Century Leadership Skills