Why stories work to impact on the quality of your working relationships

Why stories work

Stories work.  They work to impact on the quality of your working relationships, but why does that humanize the workplace?

That’s a big question but worthy of a little consideration.

First, story is proven to be the means of communication we’ve always used to create a sense of belonging.  And we humans need to feel we belong. Today more than ever in the workplace.

Many studies show why this is the case.  The research makes it clear that when we hear and listen to contextualized stories—in other words, they’re relevant to you— our brains release neuro chemicals that focus our attention, make us feel a sense of trust and a willingness to co-operate.

On it’s own, that’s enough to explain why stories work to humanize our workplaces.  They engage and connect.  They make us feel we belong.

Second, we’re often in a situation at work, and for work, in which we need to communicate well for others to grasp complexity. Or shift a narrative to place a team on the same page. Or motivate action.

We don’t always use the right communication approach to achieve this.  As a leader, here are few examples:

  • Coercion — do it or there’ll be consequences
  • Excluding —I know it, they know it, why don’t you?
  • Dismissive —get on with it, I have other more important things to do

As a business owner trying to communicate your offer:

  • Grandstanding — best offer, best benefits, most features
  • Showcasing—lists, and lists, and lists of your treasured knowledge
  • Opacity—lack of clarity, multiple directions, offers and ideas

What story does when it is contextualized —on purpose, to the right people for the right intention, and demonstrating value that serves—is eliminate these communication problems.

Story doesn’t coerce, it persuades; it doesn’t exclude because it’s inclusive.  When its focus is you it can’t be dismissive.

It doesn’t grand-stand, it’s more often vulnerable, empathetic and insightful.  Story doesn’t showcase, but demonstrates your capability, competency and authenticity when you tell it in context.

A good story told for the right reasons is clear, succinct and relevant.

Third, story embeds.  We talk purpose and business culture but few know how to embed it as part of an organization’s DNA.  Stories do that job.  That’s why they’re so powerful to support invested interest, (not always for the right reasons), religion (also not always for the right reasons), but also in our own personal culture.

If we were able to tell stories about our purpose with the same passion and verve as are told about our favorite sporting team, imagine how that narrative would embed a culture!


Please come and join us.  We’d love to see you. You can book in the links below. On Thursday July 25 at General Assembly and on Monday 5 August at Docklands.  We look forward to your company at Why Stories Work to Humanise the workplace and the ensuring conversation.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *