Tanveer Naseer

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

What Storytelling Reveals As The Role Leaders Should Play

A revealing look at three stories that help to illustrate how the function of leaders is to serve as mentors for the real heroes of their organization – their employees.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about 3 fundamental storytelling elements leaders should employ to successfully drive change.

Now when it comes to using storytelling to help describe our vision or change initiative, the common tendency is to frame our story within the hero on a quest narrative, given how it’s the decisions and choices we make through our leadership that ultimately impact whether we collectively succeed or fail.

And yet, the truth is that while we may be the source of the vision or change initiative that guides our collective efforts, the actual role we play as leaders in our organization’s story is not that of the hero, but that of the mentor.

To understand why the role of mentor is the proper fit for leaders in terms of the journey your organization needs to take, let’s start off by looking at the three characteristics that define what a mentor does:

1. Mentors act as our teacher and guide
The most common role mentors play is that of a teacher and guide; that they use their own experiences and insights to help others learn about themselves and find the path they are meant to take to achieve a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives.

2. Mentors serve as both our cheerleader and our challenger
Mentors will often cheer us on – inspiring us to keep pushing ahead, and eager to celebrate our successes. But mentors also challenge us to question our assumptions of what we’re capable of and what we can achieve.

3. The mentoring relationship has a fixed end point
There’s a clear end point in the relationship between the mentor and the mentee. Specifically, that once the mentor has provided their mentee with all the help and guidance they can provide, it’s time for the mentee to use their acquired knowledge and insights to continue their journey on their own.

Taken together, these three characteristics illustrate what Christopher Vogler wrote in his book, “The Writer’s Journey”:

“Mentors provide heroes with motivation, inspiration, guidance, training, and gifts for the journey. Every hero is guided by something, and a story without some acknowledgement of this energy is incomplete.”

Interestingly, Vogler’s description of the role mentors play in storytelling mirrors the function of effective leadership. Namely, that it’s a leader’s responsibility to craft a vision that inspires people to commit their best efforts, as well as providing our employees with the support and guidance to help make that vision a reality.

Of course, when it comes to storytelling, it’s easy for us to imagine ourselves being the heroes of our organization’s story thanks to our leadership role. And yet, the simple truth is that as leaders, we serve as the mentor to the real heroes of our organization’s story – our employees [Twitter logoShare on Twitter].

With that in mind, I’d like to share stories from three different movies that help shine a light on how we can serve as mentors through our leadership to bring out the best in those we lead: Click here to continue reading »”What Storytelling Reveals As The Role Leaders Should Play”

Mentorships… and Mary

Today’s piece is a guest post by Gwyn Teatro. Gwyn is a Certified Professional Coach with a Master of Science degree in Management and 15 years experience as a Human Resources Consultant to Executive and Senior Management in the Financial Services Industry. While she may have retired from the corporate world,  she maintains an interest in coaching leaders with the drive to help them achieve results, both for their organizations as well as for themselves.  You can read more of Gwyn’s writings on her blog, “You’re Not the Boss of Me

Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men — the other nine hundred and ninety nine follow women. – Groucho Marx

I bumped into this quote while surfing the Internet and just kept it for a while feeling that there might be something I needed to say about it. In the end, I guess I just found it amusing in a wry sort of way. And it reminded me of Mary.

Mary was my first HR boss. Before working with her, I was a clerk, an efficient yet uninspiring one.

Mary was looking for a Personnel Assistant at the time and having rifled through the roster of internal candidates that might fit her bill, she chose me.

Initially, I was very flattered until I learned Mary’s selection criteria. It was less than scientific. Specifically, Mary gave me the job because I could type; I was presentable; and I hadn’t ticked anyone off…yet. Click here to continue reading »”Mentorships… and Mary”