Leadership through Stories

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Second to our intellectual abilities is our love for social interactions. These two underlie our preference for sharing tales and experiences. Through stories we communicate and establish deeper and more meaningful relationships. Nonetheless, the highly globalized and economy-based nature of the modern times has blatantly disregarded the positive advantages of story-telling.

Companies have focused on the technicalities of the market—seeing their employees, customers, and their obligations as a product of simple supply-and-demand. Analysis of figures—assets and liabilities—has been the main focus. But business is more than graphs, slides, and data; it is about people and their relationships. Powerful leaders such as Barack Obama and Bill Clinton recognized this truth, applied it, and reaped its bountiful rewards. Through inspiring stories, they have won the people’s favour over and over again.

The essential questions is what makes story-telling so effective?


Stories contain acts of service that never fail to inspire others. Tales of good versus evil may sound cliché, but such conflicts reverberate through the test of time. Applied on a variety of contexts and combined with the complex development of characters, an effective good versus bad story could move people into achieving a mutual goal and cause. The triumph of the oppressed over the oppressors could encourage a lot to climb mountains they never even thought they could climb.

An effective leader shows that he or she cares. Because of this, people are willing to follow him. They do so with trust and loyalty, without a hint of suspicion.

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A leader would only be able to tell an effective story after he or she listens. Stories should specifically cater to the needs of the people. In order to do that, he or she must ask questions. By asking significant questions, the people will know that their leader is serious when it comes to fulfilling their needs.


Beyond the charts, graphs, and PowerPoint slides are daily struggles to adapt, change, and improve. Stories show these in detail. Pain and suffering, two universal conditions, are shown as only temporary. Perseverance and determination prove that anything and everything is possible. This hope is clearly defined and elaborated in stories of people. Stories are realer than the most technical business presentations because they present real people who have aspirations, challenges, and pain.

Stories are inherent in us human beings. We were made to weave pieces of information into elegant robes of triumph and victory over every ordeal. They are fine representation of possibilities that lie just beyond our imaginations.

kg_author_6This article is authored by Carla Rieger, motivational speaker on change leadership, presentation and communication skills.

To book Carla for your next business event or corporate training program, click here

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