Learn The Power of Storytelling & Why It is Important In Leadership
Expert marketers advocate the use of storytelling in order to build a compelling marketing message. By making it easy for your target audience to relate to your products and services, you can gain an edge over your competition. Did you know that leaders can benefit from the power of storytelling, too?
Stories are what unite us as humans. Every individual has a story to tell. To become a great leader, you can leverage the power of stories to make an impact on your team and the organization as a whole.
The Importance of Storytelling as a Leader
Great storytelling involves a lot of hard work, attention to detail, and understanding your audience. As a leader, you need this particular skill in order to inspire change and motivate the people within your organization. It’s a tool that can be used to communicate ideas more effectively because you establish an emotional and cognitive connection.
You do not need to have scaled Mount Everest or built the next greatest invention in order to tell a great story. You can make anything interesting as long as you have the right tools and processes to communicate your story.
There are three reasons why the power of storytelling is crucial for effective leadership.
Stories are memorable
If you want to make an impact on the people who follow you within your organization, you can leverage stories to make it easier for them to connect with you. Stories are a common ground for all humans, no matter your position or role in the organization. An effective leader is someone who can connect with everyone and make them feel valued within the organization.
Great stories last a long time
An effective leader is someone who can make an impact even after they are no longer around. Even if you move to a different company or leave the organization behind, you can still promote productivity and enthusiasm in others by sharing stories that inspire them to do better. The learning they get from you extends beyond the mere act of sharing stories; the stories live within those that you lead in the organization.
Stories inspire action from others
The ultimate goal of leaders is to inspire and motivate others. It is a way of sharing experiences. Even if others are not involved in the story, sharing it with them can make them feel a part of that experience. You can leverage that to compel them to take your desired action.
Moreover, stories are based on experiential learning. It is an effective way to convey ideas and showcase the potential for human accomplishment.
How to Develop the Power of Storytelling in Leadership
Do you want to become more effective as a storytelling leader?
It doesn’t take rocket science to become a better storyteller. Here are a few things that you need to know in order to develop the power of storytelling as a leader.
1. Collect stories
As a leader, you do not need to travel the world and collect unbelievable stories to share. All you have to do is collect stories that you can share. How do you collect people’s stories?
When you meet new people, you can get to know them by letting them share an inspiring story or two. You can also read a lot. Reading about other leaders’ stories can inspire you, and will give a few insights that you can share with your team.
By collecting stories, you develop the ability to discriminate and identify stories that make an impact or add value (versus those that do not). Immerse yourself in others’ stories so you have a bank of them to share when the situation is right.
2. Dissect stories
One of the best tips to become a better storyteller is to dissect what makes a good story. If you believe a story is good, find out why. What is it about the story that makes it powerful and compelling? What characteristics are in the stories and characters that resonate with you?
This is an essential step in identifying a good story. In the end, it helps you identify how to create stories that make the same impact on others.
3. Dissect the bad stories, too
In order to be a great storyteller, you need to analyze not just great stories – you must do the same with bad stories, too.
It’s easy to say that a certain story is terrible. But why is it terrible? What elements about it don’t work? How can you improve on it? List the reasons why a story may be considered bad so you can avoid it when you are the one having to tell the story.
4. Ask for feedback
A good leader is someone who is able to take and learn from any kind of feedback. A little constructive criticism never hurt anyone. If you want to harness the power of storytelling to become a better leader, you need to be open to getting feedback from others.
An important tip to remember when telling a story is that you must provide context. This context will increase the relevance of the story that you share and make it easy for the audience to relate to.
The Power of Storytelling: Is It Worthwhile?
Becoming a great storyteller is not a walk in the park. It takes a lot of work. However, putting in the time and effort to learn what makes a good storyteller is worth it, especially if your leadership style relies on it.
There is a growing body of research and evidence that explains the impact of storytelling on the human brain. The best stories are the ones that can make the audience more empathic – it should make them feel care and connection.
If that’s not enough, this study concludes that most people forget about 40% of new information they receive. By telling a story, people will more likely remember what you had to say. This is very important if you want to make an impact as a leader. Stories can be leveraged to deliver a message clearly, stir emotions, and inspire action. Emotions are what motivate others to act on your message, especially if it has something to do with your organization.