Storytelling: the key to future leadership
Storytelling, which abounds in our personal sphere, could be the key to training leaders who will inspire their employees in the professional sphere.
Stories shape our lives and by extension our interpersonal relationships. Narrative patterns are an integral part of our development as human beings. Understanding how these stories inspire us, as a person, is the key to using them, as a leader, to inspire our employees in the same way and to include them in a joint enterprise project.
Conveying emotions through stories
Stories have a significant impact on learning and retaining information. Including a scenario in a learning process activates the sensory parts of the brain, and some neurological studies have even shown that the human brain can treat in the same way a story heard and a real experience lived. Gerald Edelman, a neuroscientist, has even shown that the paths of emotions and facts are intrinsically linked in neural networks; therefore the ability to build and follow stories is fully part of our human intelligence. It promotes our learning and engages us personally.
If the power that scenarios have to engage individuals in a collective whole is so great, why not use it in a company to found leadership techniques that engage employees?
Managing employees through storytelling
The behavioural sciences, and in particular the work of Albert Bandura, Professor Emeritus of the prestigious Stanford University, emphasize the importance of learning by analogy, and the interdependence between our emotional response and our environment. Learning by analogy, which allows us to model our behaviour on that of others, will serve as an internal compass for our future actions and reactions. It is therefore essential for a leader, or aspiring leader, who is training for a new position of responsibility, to take advantage of this knowledge. First, to represent itself the model that will motivate its collaborators. Then, to acquire storytelling tools capable of creating engagement.
Storytelling, the ability to build a story from a narrative, can be an indirect approach to management, which instead of creating person-to-person pressure on employees, engage them in a project through a story, and thus constitute a more subtle form of manager.
Building confidence through scenarios
Building your management on scenarios makes it possible in the first place for employees to feel confident, putting distance through the mirror of history. They can therefore make decisions and take initiatives more freely, which encourages innovation. This mirror gives them the freedom to bring personal knowledge outside of the company, which can be valuable to solving problems.
This caring environment also gives employees the feeling of being able to fail, and thus encourages them to take risks that take them out of their comfort zone. For a manager, learning to use scenarios involves understanding how to apply them to employees he is used to dating, based on their personalities and past work experiences.
A collective learning tool that creates engagement
A true “soft skill”, this ability to create commitment enables employees to generate answers and therefore potential solutions. But beyond the potential innovation, the use of a story also allows a manager to explain a concept in a simpler way. It is therefore an important learning tool for employees, both through the experience of their manager but also their individual experiences: by generating commitment, the scenario thus allows a real collaborative exchange that can be valuable in companies where the poles are still too separated.
Storytelling is a powerful tool, widely used by companies in their external communication. But they would also benefit from using it internally, and especially from equipping their leaders. It is both an excellent way to engage all the teams in a global project and to facilitate the exchanges, feedback and constructive criticism that will enrich the business project and deliver the best offer or service to its customers.