Leadership has been defined a thousand ways, and a thousand qualities have been suggested as the most critical trait in a leader. Into that endless discussion, Greg Smith offers the notion of “narrative leadership.” Every group—whether a team, corporation, church, or nation—collectively believes a story, a narrative, that explains where they are now, how they got there, and where they’re headed. When the group no longer agrees on that story, it fragments and fights. Leadership means shaping the shared narrative and uniting everyone around it. Great leaders are great storytellers who convince their followers to believe and move from a shared past, through the present, into a shared future.
Greg Smith helps leaders to understand and master the art of narrative leadership. Invite him to speak to your group or coach your team.
The Leader’s Tale
How does a leader unite followers around a shared narrative? They craft the “leader’s tale,” an explanation that puts the present into context by explaining how the organization arrived in its present position. This story makes sense of the group’s shared experiences and present reality, organizing everything from empirical data to emotions into categories, causes, and effects. The leader’s tale then connects yesterday through today to tomorrow. The story doesn’t just offer a goal or ideal for the future; it casts it as the natural extension of the journey the organization has been on. Great leaders have always used these tales to achieve unity, build support, and move their followers toward the future.
Greg Smith helps leaders to master the art of narrative leadership. Invite him to speak to your group or coach your team.
Content and Channels
Writing memos might command obedience, but it doesn’t win support. Leaders can’t rely on only one method of communication to drive their message, especially in this age of ubiquitous media. They must be able to write and speak in ways that inform and inspire. They must frame the narrative, answer objections, and call people to action. They must capture hearts and minds. All of this requires mastering their content, both the substance and form of their message. They must also be adept at choosing and using various communications channels.
Greg Smith helps leaders to communicate effectively. Invite him to speak to your group or coach your team.
Leaders who want to extend their influence must be effective public speakers. They need compelling content that builds their leadership brand while remaining relevant and competitive. They need visuals that drive the verbal message. They need to organize the tempo of their presentation to find and maximize the high-impact moments. Their delivery needs to capture and hold attention while building credibility and leaving the audience wanting to hear more.
Greg Smith has coached numerous leaders through developing and delivering high-impact presentations to conferences, colleges, awards banquets, and TED talks. Invite him to help you make a lasting impression at your next event.