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Leadership Stories

Leadership stories: the essence of leadership

Can leadership be learned? We think so and reading our growing collection of leadership stories is an excellent way to illustrate this. They help bring different perspectives to the meaning of leadership.

Search for “leadership” books and you’ll find over 40,000 titles from which to choose. It seems everyone has a view on leadership but how is it possible to learn about leadership, and how do you learn how to be a better leader? The debate over whether leadership can be taught has gone on for some time. If it can be taught how do you learn how to lead?

A great place to start would be to take advantage of our half price offer on our complete set of leadership resources. You can find out more in: What is Leadership?

Catching the Essence of Leadership

Perhaps leadership is something which is as much “caught” as it is “taught”. That is, the example of others can help us to “catch” what it is to lead, as much as being “taught” by good books, courses etc.

Reading leadership stories is one way for the essence of leadership to be caught as much as taught. This page contains fascinating examples of leadership in action, and some words from us to help you on your way.

Hopefully you’ll gain inspiration and insight from the stories and from our interpretation. Enjoy the stories and use them to catch the spirit of leadership, or perhaps to pick up some practical tips.

Storytelling is the single most powerful tool in a leader’s toolkit. (Howard Gardner)

We’ll be adding to this collection of stories regularly, so subscribe to our RSS feed to ensure you don’t miss our new entries. We’re firm believers in the benefits of leadership storytelling, so this is a page that will be changing frequently.

Our Leadership Stories

Characteristic of Leadership: Seeing Things Differently

How leaders see things differently is powerfully illustrated by this motivational story about IBM’s Tom Watson Jr.

Leadership Concept: Valuing Ideas

A key leadership concept is to ensure you place a high value on the ideas of others, ensuring you allow time to foster creativity. This story illustrates how one famous leader did just that.

Leadership Quote: the “ultimate measure of a man”

In confronting one of his own personal challenges, U2 singer Bono referred to a story about Dr Martin Luther King, one of the world’s most famous civil rights leaders.

Leadership Philosophy: it’s the little things that count

If you were asked to consider a basic leadership philosophy, what immediately springs to mind? Vision, inspiration, communication and drive are all important. But never overlook the little things…..

Essence of Leadership? Seeing Triumph in Tragedy

Thomas Edison showed the essence of leadership in this story from Jim Clemmer. Renowned as one of America’s most famous inventors, Edison showed powers of leadership which would rival any general.

Leadership Quality: Seeing the Bigger Picture

“I’m building a cathedral!” Seeing the bigger picture is an essential leadership quality. Read these great lessons from one of the most powerful leadership stories.

Leading With Vision: Bridging the Gap
Leading with vision requires foresight but do leaders also need to look elsewhere? Looking ahead is important but thinking about those who will follow is the sign of a great leader……

Quotes About Leadership Success: 3 Things Successful Leaders Have in Common

This page contains a story and some quotes which look for a “common” thread in what makes a successful leader.

If you’re interested in developing your leadership skills, return to our Leadership page. This contains a range of articles, tips and resource links which compliments this collection of stories.

Or turn to our handy e-guide: Leading Insights, packed with more leadership stories, and some leading insights into how they can be used! Insights such as:

The Leading Insights:

Leadership stories bundle with leading insights!

  • Uncommon insights
  • Tipping point leadership
  • Find the glass
  • Leaders need to be cathedral thinkers
  • Would you recommend your service/organisation to your friends?
  • Putting on a performance
  • Would people pay to see your team perform?
  • Bricolage leadership
  • Resourceful leadership
  • Nudging leadership
  • Mirror leadership
  • Chameleon leadership
  • Catalyst leadership
  • Chrysalis leadership
  • Saliency, sagacity and serendipity
  • Infectious leadership
  • Infected leadership
  • Great work days
  • Defining moments
  • Conveying what you care about
  • The kind of goals leaders set matters
  • Motivating leaders


Where to go from here:


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