Leaders can inspire others by connecting to a story

By April 16, 2013All

“The ultimate impact of the leader depends most significantly on the particular story that he or she relates and the reception of the story on the part of the audience.”  Howard Gardner “Leading Minds”

The key to leadership as well as to following is the effective communication of a story. If you want to be an effective leader, you have to master the art of storytelling that inspires others to become part of a dream. 


Communicating stories to a group of people is a fundamental part of any leader tool box to move people into action. Ultimately, leaders achieve their vision through the stories they relate to others.

Many people want to know if their story (their life) is getting better with you. As a leader are you articulating and communicating a better future for your team, organization and even your family?

So why storytelling? Ever since humans first sat around the campfire, stories have been told to create emotional connections. That connection was very powerful as it communicated a call to action. It resonated with people to make a difference. In many societies, they have been passed along nearly unchanged for generations.

People enjoy following a leader who has survived personal challenges and can share their narrative of success or failure comfortably with any audience.
Leaders find it challenging to get their teams engaged and rally everyone to a big cause. But it boils down to how we communicate to inspire the vision. 

Great leaders found a way to articulate a narrative to keep the vision alive in the minds of their people. Leaders must keep sharpening their message to be persuasive enough to relate and connect.

Information is static; stories are dynamic—they help an audience visualize what you do or what you believe. Tell a story and people will be more engaged and receptive to the ideas you are communicating. 

Stories link one person’s heart to another. Values, beliefs, and norms become intertwined. When this happens, your idea can more readily manifest as reality in their minds.
Storytelling does not replace logical thinking. It supplements it by enabling us to imagine new perspectives and new possibilities and ideally create inspiration for change and innovation.

Stories provide continuity in our lives, conveying a sense of where we been and where we could be. Storytelling brings people together in a common perspective and stretches everyone’s capacity to empathize with others and share experience.

Leaders like Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Churchill knew the power of a good story. They even took it a step further-by involving communities of nations to improve their stories. As a leader, are you making other people’s story better?
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