Narrative and storytelling in Social Leadership

It’s because stories sit at the heart of how we communicate that i’ve included ‘Narrative‘ as the first dimension of Social Leadership.

Narrative in Social Leadership

When we share stories, we contextualise information, relating it to that which we already know. Stories draw on icons and frames of reference that are highly culturally specific and efficiently share meaning. We use them as part of our sense making activities within communities to establish areas of commonality and reduce risk.

We curate our stories choosing our stance and tone of voice, making them relevant for the audience. When we get it right, it builds our reputation in social spaces and communities, and in the Social Age, this reputation is the foundation of social authority: authority granted by the community.

The NET Model - two layers

The NET Model of Social Leadership in full, showing the three Dimensions and nine Components

It’s a feature of the Social Age that our stories are iterative: constantly edited and refined around a core narrative. Just look at every news site that updates it’s stories on a minute by minute basis. A wiki type approach.

When our leadership stories resonate, they help us to build shared purpose and momentum within both teams and communities (which may be inside or external to the organisation).

Storytelling is a skill like any other: it can be developed over time.

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Leadership, Narrative, Storytelling and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Narrative and storytelling in Social Leadership

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  4. For me one of the challenges is that there is a risk you become entrenched in your stories – we see this all the time in conflicts at work – where individuals create a narrative for their working life/interactions, and that narrative is not open to reflection and a new perspective. We often hear people use the same phrases over and over again as their ‘story’ plays out and there is always a risk that the narrative, (which is only one perspective after all), becomes told so many times it becomes fact. I suppose that is where other aspects of the NET model come into play – as a social leader will include co-creation, and collaboration to review and revise the narrative…. Food for thought!

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