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Why Leaders Should Tell Stories

Princefrog I have been thinking lately about the impact of stories in our lives and how they can help us as leaders and how they can inspire and promote trust on our teams.

Our memory consist of lots of stories; stories of all our experiences or others experiences. When we talk about a memory it is usually in the form of a story. We primarily communicate through stories. Think about it. Your husband or wife comes home from work and you ask “how did your day go?” Then a story is told as the days events are recalled. We tell stories in almost all of our communication.

Stories convey values, lessons, humor, emotion, trust and much more. Stories captivate people. We have all been in a classroom where the instructor or trainer is lecturing about facts and concepts. But as soon as he or she begins to tell a story, it draws us in. That is why a number of popular leadership books these days are written in the context of a story.

Great leaders whether in business, the home, church or anywhere else, can benefit from telling compelling stories and telling them frequently. They can be drawn and told from many facets of life. All a leader has to do is start looking for them. Here are a few suggestions.

1.      Think of your life experiences, everyone has them, there are stories there. Take a moment to jot them down. For each story categorize it by a subject such as reaching goals, overcoming adversity etc… and put them in a file by category.

2.      You can tell a story that has already been told. Do a quick search on the Internet and you will find thousands. As you read books, news or articles from magazines or the Internet, mark or clip out stories that impress you. Categorize them as explained above.

3.      Collect fables. A search on the internet will yield a fable for just about anything you need to relate it to.

After telling a story, convey how it has affected you, or has or might affect those you are telling it to. This is the time to emphasize what can be drawn from the story whether it is a value or a lesson.

Draw the point you are making with emotion. Lower your voice and pause more for impact. If making your point is emotional, let the emotion come. As you do, trust will be increased by those you are telling the story to.

Remember, your purpose as a leader is to inspire and motivate, and stories are a great way to do that. Try one at your next staff meeting, family meeting, one on one or presentation. They will help you make the transition from manager to leader. 



Mike Rogers