Leadership Storytelling : Emotions and Work don’t go together


Last week I attended an online Book Club with David Hutchens on his new book Circle of the 9 Muses: A Storytelling Field Guide for Innovators and Meaning Makers

I asked a question during the book club conversation which was : In the corporate world the moment you mention that emotions are important in stories without a doubt you get rolling eyes and leaders give you a look which says – No way, I am not mixing emotions with work. Leadership Storytelling : Emotions and Work don’t go together

So, how do you manage to inject soul in to dry documents like Strategy, Process, Policy without emotions.

The answer I got from David was practical, insightful and one that made me go – It was worth waking up at 5 AM to attend this book club!

Here is what I learnt

What we need to understand is that when we ask corporate leaders to describe emotions we are not asking them to display emotions

There is a difference between describe and display

Describe is giving an account in words

Display is a performance, show, or event staged for public entertainment

We are asking you to say things like, ” I was frustrated with the failure of Project Heartbeat” There is no reason for you to start being frustrated. If we are able to provide clarity to leaders between display and describe I am certain rolling eyes will go and desired outcomes will be achieved

So, I finally found an answer on how to convince leaders  to inject soul in to dry documents with emotionally led storytelling

Thank you David.


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"I attended your story telling course some time back. And I've enjoyed keeping up my knowledge with your blog. You may not have realised however, that the Whole of Government is implementing Internet Seperation. Hence I'm not able to access the links to read your articles. Could I suggest including a QR code in your emails so that I can use my mobile to scan it and gain immediate access to the article? It would be most helpful"