Why Strong Leaders Make Great Storytellers

WRITTEN February 21, 2019 Author: Michelle LaFiura

Strong leaders are understanding but assertive, patient while being persistent, and open-minded enough to accept new ideas while focused enough to accomplish finite goals.

Strong leaders are compelling, humble, problem solvers with great listening skills.

One trait that might be overlooked as a leadership quality is the skill to tell a story. Strong leaders are often great storytellers who understand the value of narrative.

You don’t have to be a novelist to be a good leader or a strong storyteller; but you do have to have a vision. Stories are a tool we can use to help us define and communicate our vision.

It doesn’t matter what vision the leader is trying to convey; it matters how they convey it. A strong leader and storyteller engages their team, their audience, or their followers with a story that connects. The leaders communicate the highs and lows of the story and inspire their employees to create their own “happily ever after.”

After all, if we’re each living out our own stories, then it is up to us to find our own conclusion to our daily melodramas and long-term tales. In a corporate setting, strong leaders can define the terms of the story, set expectations, and push their team to find the conclusion on their own.

“I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”

It’s not the first idea that springs to mind when discussing corporate leadership, but the beloved Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and her famous ruby slippers are a fabulous example of this.

Whether she ever admitted it or not, Dorothy needed help getting to the Emerald City. This girl was an outsider in a foreign land who got kidnapped by a witch and ended up a prisoner until her friends rescued her. She never would have made it to Oz without their help.

But Dorothy didn’t ask for help to fulfill her own desires. Instead, she inspired others with her story. If they came along and helped ease the journey, they too could find their own “happily ever after.”

The irony with The Wizard of Oz, of course, is that none of these adventurers ever needed to travel anywhere to find what they were seeking. They held the answers within themselves the entire time. The process was what made each character realize their strengths. The story they told themselves changed as each character confronted their own fears, challenges, and triumphs.

At the end of the day, it all comes back to the story. The story we tell ourselves shapes us into who we are. A strong leader knows how to help their team shape that story.


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Image courtesy of Mayastar Lavi on Flickr.

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