November 2021

Leaders Telling Stories...

Story telling is a vital skill for leaders. Being able to convey compelling stories helps build culture, spark change and modify behaviours. It can also inspire, provide examples or communicate a subtle and indirect point. As a leader, sharing stories of your own experiences can demonstrate authenticity and vulnerability which is important in building trust and rapport. It can also communicate who you are, transmit values and develop high performing teams.

Story telling is a tool that can be used to translate uninteresting metrics and analysis into something meaningful and engaging that links it all together. As a leader, listening to the stories of members of your team provides different perspectives. It may not be your experience but the story provides an understanding of a different world and gives insight into how you can implement change or address needs within the organisation.

A recent experience for me around the power of stories occurred at a workshop session I attended with a group of professional facilitators. We were given the opportunity to deconstruct case studies and live examples from the group. During the session some participants shared their stories on the topic of Domestic Violence (DV). Despite all the statistics on DV, which are concerning, it was very different to hear the lived experience shared by people. It was a very visceral experience- the power and impact of the experience went straight to my gut and has stayed with me since that time.

Stories have been used since time immemorial as a method to transmit knowledge, teach and convey messages. They are an integral part of connecting people.

As a leader how are you using stories to connect, support, guide and attain your vision?


Book Recommendation:


Why We Kneel, How We Rise, Michael Holding

Through the prism of sport and conversations with its legends, including Usain Bolt, Adam Goodes, Thierry Henry, Michael Johnson, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Makhaya Ntini, Naomi Osaka and Hope Powell. Michael Holding explains how racism dehumanises people; how it works to achieve that end; how it has been ignored by history and historians; and what it is like to be treated differently just because of the colour of your skin.

Rarely can a rain delay in a cricket match have led to anything like the moment when Holding spoke out in the wake of the #BlackLivesMatter protests about the racism he has suffered and has seen all around him throughout his life. As he spoke, he sought not only to educate but to propose a way forward that inspired so many. Within minutes, he was receiving calls from famous sports stars from around the world offering to help him to spread the message further.

In Why We Kneel, How We Rise, Holding shares his story together with those of some of the most iconic athletes in the world. He delivers a powerful and inspiring message of hope for the future and a vision for change, and takes you through history to understand the racism of today. He adds: "To say I was surprised at the volume of positive feedback I received from around the world after my comments on Sky Sports is an understatement. I came to realise I couldn't just stop there; I had to take it forward - hence the book, as I believe education is the way forward."