Tag Archives: management

Storytelling Can Be a Solution for Many Managerial & Leadership Challenges

leadership4Business leaders and managers often express their frustration when their directives, presentations, or other messages don’t seem to be heard or understood — or heeded!

Many report having to reiterate the same policies and procedures, only to have them fall on deaf ears again and again.

If this sounds familiar, there is a simple solution for today’s leaders!

As presented in a recent newsletter, storytelling has proved to be the key leadership technique for increasing understanding, buy-in, and compliance.

For example, in a recent Forbes article, author and consultant Steve Denning suggests, “Rather than merely advocating and counter-advocating propositional arguments, which lead to more arguments, leaders establish credibility and authenticity through telling their stories…

“When they [leaders] believe deeply in them, their stories resonate, generating creativity, interaction and transformation.”

“Stories can change the way we think, act, and feel,” says the editorial team at mindtools.com.

“They can form the foundations of an entire workplace culture, and they have the power to break down barriers and turn bad situations around. Stories can capture our imaginations, illustrate our ideas, arouse our passions, and inspire us in a way that cold, hard facts often can’t.”

Research by Paul Smith, a consumer research executive, indicates the following as being among the most common reasons for the use of stories by business leaders:

  • Inspiring the organization
  • Setting a vision
  • Training or teaching important lessons
  • Defining culture and values
  • Garnering organizational buy-in
  • Leading change

Are You More Interesting… or Interested?

interested2Do you strive to be interesting?

Many say they do… but whether you are a sales manager, business executive or business owner, consider that becoming more “interested” could be an important component of driving your organization’s sales growth and business development effort.

While great amounts of emphasis are more commonly placed on striving to become “interesting” in our interaction with others, consider how the alternative of becoming more “interested” might influence the various people involved.

As a sales manager or business executive, our ongoing responsibilities doubtlessly include driving growth and motivating the team. This typically involves helping sales people or team members to maintain a positive attitude as well as a belief in their ability to get the job done; it also involves managing processes so people stay focused on and work on the right things, and leading people toward mutual goal achievement.

It is not easy work.

It can become easier, however, when we find ways to consistently exhibit an honest interest in the work being done . And please note, this means becoming “interested” not only after the work has been done, but also while the work is being done! An after-the-fact or “rear-view mirror” approach to management can only yield judgment about past performance; but our “interest” while work is in progress enables us to influence results – hopefully for the better!

“Interested” people also tend to ask questions. So, this genuine interest can best be expressed by asking questions about day-to-day efforts, successes and challenges; we can then analyze the information gathered (by listening carefully to people’s answers to our questions) and proactively find ways to become involved. A steady diet of this type of interaction will quickly lead to a better understanding of the team’s attitude and aptitude.

But most of all, if consistently implemented this interactive and collegial management style has a tendency to send a strong implied message – a message that says we care! A message that says each team member is important and their work is important. We might be surprised at how much more effectively people perform their jobs when they realize how important their success really is from our perspective.