By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC


Inspirational leaders are sensitive to their team’s needs. They act with integrity, practice open communication, and ensure broad inclusion. This creates an environment where team members feel supported and encouraged to experiment, learn, grow, and contribute. 

Great inspirational leaders aren’t born; they’re made. You can take the first steps towards becoming an inspirational leader by sharing your story. By storytelling your experiences for inspiration, you can motivate your team to perform better. 

Try sharing your story with your team and experience these benefits. 


Sometimes your teams need to hear that you weren’t always in an executive or leadership position. There was a time when you were the new guy and lowest man on the totem pole. Sharing your story of how you grew into your career can help motivate others. Try sharing a challenge that you had to overcome to move up in your career. 

Sometimes people need to be shown the way to see that growth is possible. Sharing your story can show them how to move up in their career. It can also inspire them to approach you about possible growth within the team or company. Now you know who is committed and interested and have a shortlist of people to turn to for special projects. 


Sharing your story can demonstrate that you are tolerant. This means that you have respect and understanding for your team. You can’t expect your team to respect you if you don’t respect them. Try sharing a story that called for you to be open-minded or work with others that were very different from yourself. 

Demonstrating tolerance is leading by example and fostering a positive work environment. Everyone wants to feel respected, and having it within your team creates positive morale and a healthy work culture. People work harder and are more productive when they are happy and feel valued. 


Sharing your story can show that you don’t view yourself as above anyone else. While you may be the leader, it hasn’t gone to your head. Demonstrating humility means that you’re self-aware. You’re open to new ideas and feedback. This will encourage your team to come to you with their ideas and suggestions. Try sharing a story of a mistake that you have made and what you did to correct it. 

Fostering a collaborative environment means you’ll introduce more ideas and contributions. When people work together by openly sharing their innovations, your final work product will be better. 


Having empathy means that you can understand the needs of others while taking into consideration their needs and thoughts. Your team wants to know that you care about them and their best interests. After all, as their leader, you are their best advocate. Try sharing a story about the challenges you face in a particular position. 

Telling your story shows your team that you’ve been in similar positions as them. You can understand their thoughts and feelings. This makes them more likely to come to you when they have a dilemma. When you’re more readily made aware of problems, you can fix them sooner and prevent larger ones from developing. 

Try Storytelling Your Experiences for Inspiration 

It can be tough figuring out how to share your personal story with your team. You don’t want to aimlessly ramble, getting off track of your message and end goal. You also shouldn’t share too many personal details, which can also distract from the work related topic. Working with a career coach can help you draft an effective narrative that is both relatable and inspirational. 


Let’s get to work!

If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at [email protected]