Throughout all my years of consulting leaders, I have always learned the most from anecdotes that others shared. These stories can be very powerful and usually portray the multi-faceted aspects of a leader. Have you ever spent the time to write your own story? What would you write about?
Some important questions you might ask yourself before you create your narrative might include:
- What have I accomplished?
- Who have I become or evolved into?
- What can I do now that I could not do before?
- What are my core values and how did I learn them?
- Which people in my life have helped to shape me?
- What obstacles have I overcome?
I think that many of the mantras that guide leaders might have come from their childhood. For example, my father constantly told me that I could be anybody I wanted to be and accomplish whatever I set out to obtain. He indoctrinated me in a very powerful way to set my standards high. Maybe you had a teacher or professor or boss who helped chart your course. That interaction would be part of your storytelling.
Equally as important to writing your story, is sharing your words with others. People live vicariously though others’ experiences and oftentimes transfer lessons to themselves. Whenever mentoring or coaching others, leaders can be very effective by telling a coachee how they handled a similar situation through a story. Anecdotes help others to see their challenges more clearly as well as work out ways to improve themselves. In fact, there are numerous business books today, which describe organizational issues through fables that teach powerful lessons.
So leaders need to add storytelling to their list of important competencies. Always be sincere in how you share your anecdotes. Your followers may just learn a thing or two about themselves as well as about you.