Leadership and Storytelling
Over the last decade, storytelling has become a popular motivational instrument used by corporate executives and managers. Instead of office memos and employee handbooks, they use storytelling as a way to move their employees to change and influence company culture. But storytelling isn’t just for companies like Procter & Gamble. It can be a valuable asset to your box of leadership tools.
What leaders do
One of my favorite passages from Seth Godin’s book Tribes is: “What leaders do: they give people stories they can tell themselves. Stories about the future and about change.”
Storytelling is important to leadership because you can’t demand that people be motivated or “follow the rules.” Great stories inspire people with examples they can follow. Even the best stories can’t overcome lack of respect for the storyteller, however, so make sure you’re setting the primary example. No one will believe something scripted; draw from your own experiences and make it genuine.
What people believe
More from Seth Godin:
“People don’t believe what you tell them. They rarely believe what you show them. They often believe what their friends tell them. They always believe what they tell themselves.”
Keeping this truth in mind is vital when it comes to leadership and influence because it means we all have the ability to lead like-minded people. The key word here is “like-minded.” You will not be able to influence anyone with whom you have no common ground. Find people to join you who share your passion for a cause.
Incorporate these like-minded qualities into your stories in order to motivate and lead. You want your followers to find the mindset “people like me do things like this.” Both rationally and emotionally, use your stories to connect to their intrinsic motives. Motivating change may be as easy as “once upon a time…”
About the author
I'm Autumn Nicholson, Director of Internet Marketing. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and took the first editing job I could find, at a marketing company in South Carolina. I joined Farmore Marketing in 2014 to put my internet marketing experience to good use—and to spend more time on the beach. I invest much of my time volunteering for nonprofits, reading, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. You can connect with me here: