-Why leaders should use stories to engage their teams.
The ability to influence, inspire, and engage others is your top priority as a leader. Making decisions and setting strategic direction are also important, but if nobody is enthused and committed to carrying out your plans, things will quickly fall apart.
To get your team to care, you must connect with them on a personal and emotional level. One of the most powerful tools for doing this is storytelling. Let me share some compelling reasons why stories aren’t just for bedtime and why you should embrace storytelling as an essential leadership tool for success.
The magic of stories to … engage.
Stories have a unique capacity to evoke emotions and create bonds. Through them, you can bridge the emotional gap between yourself and your team. When you share a personal anecdote or create a narrative that resonates with your team’s experience, you foster a sense of unity and belonging.
As a leader, it’s your job to break down complex ideas and strategies so they are doable. Stories are an opportunity to break down intricate concepts into relatable stories that everyone can understand. A good story can provide the clarity essential for effective communication.
…to inspire purpose.
History’s most influential leaders have used stories for great effect. From Eleanor Roosevelt who advocated for women’s rights to Winston Churchill, whose famous “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” address, galvanized the British people during a time of great adversity during WW II to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream,” speech which ignited the civil rights movement through non-violent protest.
…to solve problems.
All great stories involve someone confronting and overcoming challenges. Your story can do the same teaching your team how to tackle obstacles with resilience.
…to build trust.
If you open up authentically and share your challenges with your team, it humanizes you and makes you more relatable. People are more likely to trust you if they feel they know you on a personal level.
…to resolve trust.
You can help your team members understand different perspectives and find common ground when you do it through a story. With delicate or tough situations, telling a story about similar circumstances provides enough distance for constructive dialogue to take place.
…to make a lasting impact.
Finally, stories are more memorable than dry facts. If you want your team to remember what you say so they will act on it later, cut through the noise and information saturation with a message wrapped around a well-crafted story.
As a leader, especially if you are new to the game, or aspiring to move into a leadership position, I encourage you to rethink your communication strategies with the power of stories. Of course, your tales need to be appropriate for what you want to accomplish. That is a skill I will save for my next newsletter, so stay tuned or sign up ↓ to get it delivered to your inbox.
Remember, if you want to capture the attention and motivation of your team, use a story. They aren’t just for bedtime.
Till next week,
Jo-Aynne Von Born, Leadership and Executive Coach
Work Your Authentic Genius.
Think back to any stories that had a powerful effect on you during your lifetime. What story could you tell to have that same impact on your team?