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What’s Your Leadership Story?

September 17, 2013

By Lisa Parker

Whether it’s Howard Schulz of Starbucks, or Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines, or any of the talented speakers featured in TED talks, an audience will immediately connect to a leader who can tell a good story. But we aren’t talking about “fairy tales” or “fish stories,” we’re talking about good old-fashioned, storytelling through a real-world lens. And being able to connect with your audience—employees, customers, Wall Street analysts or journalists—is a key leadership trait in today’s business world.

The reality is, the days when leaders could get by on a couple of canned jokes before launching into long boring presentations are gone. In fact, cultivating storytelling capabilities is a fast growing leadership development area, and Peter Guber, the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, gets it right in his book Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story. He writes all about how business leaders can learn from the art and science of producing Hollywood’s highest grossing movies and underscores the vital role that storytelling plays to help leaders lead more effectively. If you want to engage your employees peers or audience, you must learn how to grab their attention on the human level.

We also believe in the power of storytelling, especially when you include personal examples of life lessons learned from both successes and challenges. And we’ve found that as leaders become better at telling their own leadership story, they begin to develop the critical authenticity and storytelling ability that helps them take their leadership capabilities to the next level.

So, what’s your leadership story? Do you work with leaders who’ve mastered the fine art of storytelling? Or are you and members of your team relying on stale one-liners to sell your ideas?

More about Lisa

Lisa Parker is a Principal Consultant at Linkage. Her specialties are building innovation-capable organizations, team dynamics and communication, emotional intelligence, strategic thinking, design thinking and change, transition management and the creative process. She has focused on delivering programs for both Fortune 1000 companies and entrepreneurial ventures. Follow her on Twitter @Stratovationist.

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