What Role Does Story Play in Creative Leadership?



WhatRole Does Story Play in Creative Leadership?

WhatRole Does Story Play in Creative Leadership?


Thereare numerous elements and structures of a story discuss in theAnnette Simmons “thestory factor”.The author looks at several stories covering different genre and fromdifferent culture to highlight the role of story telling ininspiring, motivating and persuading the audience as well ascommunicate particular lessons. According Propp’s morphology of thefolk tale, all stories have common themes. There are 31 narratemes ornarrative units that have been identified in many stories as well asfive elements of a story. Similar elements and structures are alsodiscussed in TheStory Factor.For example, according to Propp’s narratemes, every story has ahero. In TheStory Factor,some of the stories one need to tell in order to influence othersincludes “who am I” and “why am I here” stories where thestory teller is the hero in the story.

Majorityof the archetypes and story structures in the “Propp’sNarratemes,” “Ageless Wisdom,” are not new. Some of the mostfamiliar archetypes include hero or the main character in the story,shapeshifter and tricksters. On the other hand, some of the familiarelements of a story which are event in many stories include trickery,villainy, counteraction, recognition of the hero and punishment ofthe villain. However, some of the archetypes are presented in a way Ihad never thought about it before. A good is example is the thresholdguardian who “protects the special world and its secrets from thehero and provides essential tests to prove a hero’s commitment andworth”.

Thereare several ways through which the structures discussed in TheStory Factorand Propp’s narratemes relate to creative leadership. The mostimportant characteristic of a creative leader is one who is able toinspire and persuade his or her subject using all means available. Inthestory factor, theauthor argues that “who am I” stories are some of the moststories an individual needs to tell. By telling their own storiescreative leaders are able to influence other people and inspire them.There are several things in the reading that a reader may findinteresting,revealing, strange, compelling or surprising. WhatI find most compelling about the readings is the fact that allstories have common themes and involves a hero. According to Propp’snarratemes, there are different elements of a hero that are exhibitedin every story.


Inmy own view, the first chapter of thestory factor isthe most important part. The first chapter talks about the importanceof telling your own story. This is very significance in creativeleadership because “telling a meaningful story (of your path) meansinspiring your listeners to reach the same conclusions you havereached and decide for themselves to believe what you say and do whatyou want to do”.

Kantor’sessay can have additional light on the importance of story inleadership. Every leader has a story to tell. This may be abouthimself or his experiences that can have an impact on hissubordinates. Kantor’s essay emphasis the importance ofstorytelling and narratives in inspiring and influence other people.

Themost important lesson from thestory factor thatI would incorporate in my story is how to develop trust among theaudience in order to deriver the message and influence them. Below isan example of a story.

Istarted began in this company as an intern when I was in college.Although I was not a paid intern, I worked had enough to gainrecognition my seniors. As a result, it was easy for me to get a jobafter completing college. Through resilience and hard work, I haveprogressively climbed the corporate ladder in the company to thesenior management…

Themain audience in the story would be junior employees or newlyrecruited employees in the working group. The story will inspire themto work hard since from my story, there performance will be noted.

WhatI find most compelling is the power of a story in leadership. Acreative leader should be a good story teller. A story can be real,with real characters, for example, a story describing the storytellerexperience or it can be a fictional story. However, the story shouldhave the ability to influence and inspire the audience.


AgelessWisdom &amp the Hero`s Journey,http://www.divineparadox.com/Arts/archetypes_on_the_path.htm

Propp`sMorphology of the Folk Tale,http://changingminds.org/disciplines/storytelling/plots/propp/propp.htm

Simmons,A. (2009). Thestory factor: secrets of influence from the art of storytelling,New York: Basic Books.