Leaders are Responsible for Constructing a Narrative That Inspires

Posted by on Sep 12, 2013 in Leadership | 324 comments

Unknown-1The senior leaders of an organization recently shared with me that they were facing a challenge in motivating themselves to engage with the changes that were happening in their industry. Through coaching, they came to realize that they did not have a narrative for themselves that allowed them to make sense of these changes in a positive way. The story they were telling themselves was frustrating and demoralizing. It prevented them from showing up as effective leaders.

They began to create a new narrative that got them excited again. It helped them to remember what they loved about the work they did. It inspired them to recognize their role in making the decisions that were necessary to move their organization forward. This new story would help them help their people to make sense of the changes, to understand their roles in managing the changes, and to know that they had leaders who were energized to move the organization forward.

I shared one of my favorites quotes with them to underline what they were doing by creating this new narrative.

“As I considered the importance of language and how human beings interact with the world, it struck me that in many ways the development of language was like the discovery of fire – it was such an incredible primordial force. I had always thought that we used language to describe the world – now I was seeing that this is not the case. To the contrary, it is through language that we create the world, because it’s nothing until we describe it. And when we describe it, we create distinctions that govern our actions. To put it another way, we do not describe the world we see, but we see the world we describe…” found on page 178 in Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership written by Joseph Jaworski.

They came to understand that they were replacing a narrative that would keep them stuck in the past with a narrative that could create a new future for them and their organization.

Ask yourself…

What is the narrative you are telling about your circumstances?

Is it energizing and inspiring?

If not, what is a new narrative that will move you, others, and/or your organization forward?

What is the story of the future you want to create?

You get to choose.

Please feel free to send your comments and questions.


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