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Inspiring Leadership Stories (Including Examples)

Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you read this blog, you know employee stories are the most effective employer branding and marketing content. And, an inspiring leadership story series is part of the employee story universe!

As a communicator, you can tell effective culture stories by featuring your leadership team and communicating organizational information at the same time. 

There are many benefits to telling leader stories. Humanizing your leaders by sharing their experiences will build trust with their audience. Connecting their real experiences and stories to the message—often a company culture takeaway or program—also positively impacts your company and employer brand.   

Here are some of our favorite inspiring leadership stories and the executive storytelling best practices they teach us. 

How leadership stories promote mentorship

For your most intrepid storytelling leader, mentorship is a great first topic to get them talking. It’s less intimidating because the focus is on giving credit to their mentor. But, the leader storyteller is still a main character in their story. 

Likewise, for that exact same reason, you can also open a leader up by asking about people they’ve mentored. 

And, this topic packs an additional punch: mentorship is cyclical. 89% of those who have been mentored say they’ll go on to mentor others. If your organization has a mentorship program that works, you need to talk about it.

In this video, Kirsten hits on all three points. She shares a personal story about her experience being mentored, she espouses the value of mentoring others as a result, and she also shows AstraZeneca is committed to a culture of leadership development. 

How leader stories inspire career moves

Leaders who share their career journey show candidates and employees what’s possible and a path they can follow. It’s also a topic that’s easy for your leaders to ease into. Talking about one’s career is personal, but not confessional. 

It’s especially inspiring to show how a leader “grew up” in an industry or company.

Another positive impact of leadership storytelling for career pathing is the “See It, Be It” concept. 

You may have heard about the Scully Effect. Dana Scully, a fictional woman scientist on the TV show, The X-Files, inspired a generation of women scientists who watched the show growing up. The same can apply to generations of women entering the workforce, who are looking for models of success as they start their careers. 

If your organization is looking to hire and promote more women leaders (or encourage any underrepresented group), storytelling is incredibly impactful. Here are two examples we like from senior leaders at Dropbox and the National Eye Institute at the National Institute of Health: 

How leader stories promote company values 

No matter if your company values are listed on a wall or not, if leadership doesn’t model the cultural behavior they expect, your team will be confused. 

The same can be said for programs like wellness and mental health initiatives. It may be tough for leaders to go first and share their experience benefitting from a mental health program because it requires a high level of vulnerability. 

When Trane Technologies launched an anti-stigma campaign using employee stories, they knew they needed inspiring leadership stories to show their full support of the initiative. Ann showed up as a leader by sharing her story and connecting it to the program.

How leader stories show culture in action

A leader is also well positioned to recap how their team reacted to solve a major problem, and to tie what happened to a larger cultural point. This video from Davidson Hotel Group talks about how the team pulled together when wildfires broke out in the area, and several of their team members lost everything. The story ends by tying it together: “That’s serving others with love, and that’s what we do.” 

Your brand benefits when your leaders share their experiences. Creating content around inspiring leadership stories helps communicate culture concepts in a new way. 

Stories Inc. has helped hundreds of leaders uncover inspiring stories that bring an organization’s culture to life. Need help?