Using Storytelling To Make Yourself A Better Leader
Leadership is a very difficult asset to cultivate. But it’s also one of the most valuable. Being able to lead is not simply a question of knowing what’s best for a team. It’s subtly reassuring the team that you’re the right person to take them forward and getting the respect of everyone involved without needing to demand it fiercely from your subordinates. It’s a complex role that you can’t really ever perfect, more simply do your best to find your own version of it. However, there are universal tools that you can use to do this and little tips and tricks that can have a really noticeable effect on the outcome of your efforts.
One such tool is storytelling. This isn’t an obvious approach, but as you’ll hopefully identify, there’s a surprisingly large amount that storytelling can do for you as you pursue your goal to be the best possible leader you can be. So, let’s dive in and take a look at how you can use storytelling to improve your leadership.
Take The Human Approach
Sometimes it can be difficult to think of those that are senior to you as anything other than a superior, someone you don’t need to connect with on a human basis but who you only need to take orders from. But, as any good leader knows, that isn’t respect, it’s just subordinance. “By using storytelling you’re tapping into an ancient art form that is all about human beings connecting to one another. Truly being respected by your team requires that level of connection”, says Judd Sykes, communication manager at BritStudent and 1Day2Write.
The human approach will win people over to you and telling a story or letting the story of your team be a collaborative narrative is one of the best ways to use humanity as a tool.
Use It As An Effective Learning Tool
One thing that can help you become a better leader from an objective standpoint is success. Storytelling can play a part in success as well, and some of the best uses of storytelling have made companies that have grown and grown over the years.
One of the most effective uses of implemented storytelling is in sharing failures and success. This can be an office wide practice, but the principle is the heart of it. The idea is that everyone in your office is encouraged to share their experiences, good and bad, with the work that you all do, yourself included. Across time you build up a bank of experiences that anyone in the office is able to look to, to draw from as they start to go about trying to accomplish something. You can’t force people to share these stories, so it’s all about building a collaborative atmosphere and an openness between your team members to encourage people that it is safe for them to tell the stories that have shaped their experience and all of their practices over the years.
A lot of the time at work, things can be pretty dry. “I don’t know if this is something that everyone has, but when I was a young kid, I had a teacher who just had a way of making everything fun. It wouldn’t matter how seemingly dull the exercise or reading was, he always had a way to motivate us through fun. A lot of the time that fun came through stories, something which managers can look to emulate in the workplace as well”, suggests Tom Cooper, business writer at Australia2Write and NextCoursework.
The office can be very dull and, as the guy in charge, you are directly responsible for the overall vibe of the office for the people who work inside of it. Telling stories, even just as ways to illustrate points that are important for the work being done, is still an excellent way to bring a bit of entertainment value to the workspace and keep people’s spirits up and their energy levels a bit elevated. Without this kind of interruption to the monotony of the schedule, you can lose your employees to the dreariness of daily work. Stories will help you to prevent that.
It Shows You Care
When you get into a bit of a pattern with the routine at work, and the working days are filled adequately but uninterestingly with standard work, you can really find that everything becomes easy. Well, not everything, you’ll still be working, but you can coast on autopilot so easily if you aren’t careful. This will be picked up on by your team members who might start to wonder how invested in things you really are. These sorts of doubts can become something more dangerous if you leave them unanswered as how you approach work will greatly impact how your employees and/or team approach it too. In this sense, storytelling, really taking time to engage your employees with effort to illustrate some point, is a great way to show people that their boss is passionate and driven and will shake things up when they’re starting to go stale.
Storytelling is all about communication. Conveying complex ideas from your mind to the minds of those listening requires a complex skillset, both as a listener and as a storyteller. Communication is easily in the top three most valuable traits list for a company, of any shape or size. It’s the way that you are able to operate without hitches and to avoid conflict in the office. Storytelling helps everyone, most importantly you, to keep in good shape when it comes to communication. Having this as a special tool can be a very powerful way to get results.
So, storytelling, for as much as it seems to be a quirky, alternative element to business relations and leadership, is actually a really sharp tool, through which you can sculpt some amazing results in how you interact with your team and how you lead them on to better things!
About the author: Michael Dehoyos is a business management writer at PhdKingdom and Academic Brits. He assists people with their business projects as well as sharing his knowledge by contributing to numerous sites and publications, the academic service, Thesis Help, amongst them.