The Leader as Storyteller

By: Annette Sinclair

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Storytelling is receiving increasing attention in the management literature as a powerful tool for addressing many of today’s key leadership challenges, including articulating a clear vision and strategy, engaging employees, generating commitment to change and establishing trust in leaders. In this report we draw on existing literature and semi-structured interviews with senior leaders to examine the theory and evidence behind these claims.

We explore:

  • How stories differ from other forms of communication?
  • Why stories can be particularly effective at conveying a message and influencing behaviour?
  • How and when stories can make leaders more effective?
  • What makes a good story and a good storyteller?

The report examines how organisations and leaders have used stories to build credibility and trust; to develop a shared understanding of strategy, purpose and vision; stimulate engagement and genuine commitment; manage change; and influence behaviour, values and culture. It draws out key lessons and challenges to encourage leaders to reflect on how they might use stories or narrative techniques to improve their own effectiveness.

Read the Executive Summary

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