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Leadership storytelling

Jack Harris (VP. Medical at Eli Lilly & Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.)
B. Kim Barnes (CEO at Barnes & Conti Associates, Inc., Berkeley, California, USA.)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 1 December 2006




The purpose of this viewpoint piece is to focus on sharing a set of best practices with senior and emerging leaders.


The paper demonstrates the relevance of the skills of storytelling to the practice of leadership and provides a set of suggestions and recommendations for effective use of stories, based on the authors' personal experience and observations.


Leaders who tell stories compellingly communicate important messages in a memorable way, offer a pathway to leadership for others, develop more effective relationships with those they lead, and can create an inspirational culture in their organizations.

Practical implications

Leaders can search their own history and experience for important lessons learned that can be communicated in the form of a narrative and learn to tell them with grace, humor, and/or incisiveness at appropriate times in the life of their organization or key people.


Those who are leaders or who work to develop leaders can benefit from this alternative approach to leadership communication.



Harris, J. and Kim Barnes, B. (2006), "Leadership storytelling", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 38 No. 7, pp. 350-353.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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