Leadership Distinction #25: Story

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Leadership Distinction #25: Story

Connecting heart to heart trumps connecting mind to mind

Why are leaders impressed upon to find a way to communicate with followers and prospective followers alike via stories? For the same reason that executives are encouraged these days to boost their emotional intelligence. Connecting heart-to-heart is a much surer bet than connecting mind-to-mind.

But connecting mind-to-mind is what often garners you a leadership position in an organization. And you’re not all that likely to dispense with that developed skill now. Are you supposed to become deeply empathetic and socially aware all of a sudden?

Well, if you are to genuinely lead, and not just hold a leadership position – yes. If you are seeking more from others than their merely complying with your organization-issued authority  — yes. If the vision of tomorrow you are offering will not become a reality without people emotionally committed to the cause – yes.

This doesn’t require you to weave an inflated or unduly dramatic narrative. Those won’t register with wary followers – the ones you want, oh, by the way. But it does call for you to present reasons for why people should care, how it is going to make their lives better by helping you make it happen, and what they need to do to contribute.

Alas, you can still draw on those connecting mind-to-mind skills that got you where you are, because you’ve got to construct these three adhering components of the narrative. But if you don’t have the heart to learn what moves the hearts of others, your Story won’t have the happy ending you want.

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