Great Leaders Know The Power Of Stories
This past week I was privileged to watch an online keynote interview with Guy Raz, the renowned podcaster and author of a new book based on one of his podcasts, “How I Built This.”
I had a personal interest in this particular interview: the interviewer was my younger son Ben, and this interview closed a 500-person online conference for his company.
Guy Raz spoke about many essential elements of leadership during his conversation with Ben. The one that resonated most with me was this: Leaders know and use the power of stories.
Through stories, Guy suggested, leaders build empathy. I connected with this statement because during my career at Georgetown Law, I was told frequently that empathy was one of my most significant attributes.
Over time, I had shared my personal story with teammates: how I overcame obstacles as a child and learned to use those experiences to build empathy, compassion and vulnerability.
As leaders, we all embark on our own unique journeys. Joseph Campbell called it the “hero’s journey” and we have seen it in the stories of Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter and other literary and cinematic leaders.
All leaders must own their own journey stories, and then we can share them with people we lead.
Leaders are not the only people who possess stories. As Guy told Ben, everybody has a story. If we make the time to learn colleagues’ stories, we will create empathy.
We can give our teammates the opportunity to tell their unique stories. Once we as leaders allow people to share their stories, we will see them in a different way.
This power of stories not only creates more empathy, it leads to more productivity and higher morale.
Your team will create more cohesive bonds.
Your team will become more collaborative.
Your team will experience enhanced chemistry.
As Guy Raz reminded Ben, we are all living our stories. Our stories come from who we are. So please examine your own story. Share it with your team.
Honor your stories.
Tell them to each other.
Your leadership will benefit. And so will your team!