A story is being written right now about your leadership. It is still in draft form but make no mistake about it, it is being written and the people you lead will write it, not you. The final version will be finished the day you step out of your leadership role (revisions are possible but never a total rewrite). Leadership stories will outlive you. They will be the resounding effects of your leadership long after you are gone.Leadership stories will outlive you. They will be around long after you are gone. Click To Tweet
Stories are powerful in any culture, organization, or family. Some stories are wrapped in external factors like the great depression, a natural disaster like a flood or tornado, or a national crisis like 9-11. How a leader responds during a crisis will always be a part of the story.
But most leadership stories are written in the everyday ordinary work of leadership. Your story board might include:
- The passion of your vision that showed up (or didn’t show up) as real and authentic in how you lead not just for leadership speeches.
- How you reacted when something failed or didn’t go according to plan.
- How you responded (or didn’t respond) when a personal crisis happened to someone on your team.
- The things you said the most.
- The things that frustrated you most.
- How you recognized others, developed others, and served others.
- How your faith showed up (or didn’t show up) in the way you lead.
Do you know the stories being told about you in your organization? Listen and learn.
What is your redemption story? When did you break or mess up or meet life head on? How did God use that to shape you as a leader?What is your redemption story? How did God use that to shape you as a leader? Click To Tweet
6 Key Elements to Story Development:
- Be aware.
What story do you want to be told about your leadership? You turned a profit every quarter? You managed costs well? You grew the church by 10%? Your son was top of his class in science? All of those are great accomplishments and good sidebars to your story but they are temporary wins. Maybe you want the story to be that you invested time in developing people, you listened, you cared, your faith was real, you were there in a crisis, you gave others the credit, and you shouldered the blame.
- Ask questions and listen to other people tell their stories.
Everyone has a story to share. This requires you to spend time with people. Your greatest leadership impact, your greatest leadership story will be in the people you poured into. Never forget you are in the people business first.
- Share personally.
Don’t run from your story. It isn’t a perfect story and maybe it isn’t spectacular but it is your story and no one else’s. Your story is part of the redemption work of Christ. Your story magnifies His story. In your weakness, God picked you. Your history is part of your destiny. Embrace it. Share it.
- Learn to laugh.
You will make mistakes. Humor goes a long way in building trust and humor always makes a story better. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to be transformed in His image, to humble us, and to remind us of the amazing gift of grace.
- Repetition strengthens any story.
Are your leadership messages repeated? Are there words of wisdom that the organization is owning? Listen to hear and to learn. You know your leadership is making an impact when the organization you lead begins to lead themselves and they repeat your own leadership message and it becomes their own.
- Every story has an ending.
Lead with the wisdom to know that your leadership will end and that others will follow. Your story is best told through the lives of those that come after you.
Ultimately, our leadership story will only last if it is packed full of His story, His grace, His redemptive work, His truth. And because His story is life changing, your leadership story matters.
“But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us – our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, in order that it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31