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27th June 2019

Solace and its international partners launch report on the value of storytelling in local government

At a time when respect for traditional institutions and professional authority is in decline, public service leaders have been found to adapt their leadership techniques to take account of a radically changing world.

This shift is brought to life in ‘Storytellers in chief: How top local government managers use storytelling to lead’, an empirical study which has taken place over the course of a decade. It was jointly commissioned by Solace, ICMA and CAMA which together represent chief executives, city managers, chief administrative officers, and other senior managers across the United Kingdom, the USA, Canada and beyond.

It identifies five major themes that emerged from interviews with more than 120 chief executives, city managers and other senior officers across the UK, USA, and Canada and highlights ways in which storytelling – and the broader idea of narrative – represents a significant part of everyday leadership practices.

In the study, stories emerge as a powerful and purposive medium. Leaders use these as a means for working with and through others, as well as encouraging collaboration, developing the next generation, passing on knowledge and forging a common identity. Storytelling is a way of achieving influence, of moving, motivating and persuading others to take action in pursuit of the public good.

Graeme McDonald, Managing Director of Solace, said: “Our working lives can often be dominated by rational, evidence-based decision-making. While that is still incredibly important, facts alone aren’t sufficient. We shouldn’t ignore the need to also emotionally engage with residents, businesses and other organisations. By inspiring our communities through positive stories we can help create collective buy-in to a different future, and encourage everyone to strive towards shared goals.”

Access the full report here.

For further information on the report, please contact Alex Thomson, Head of Policy on 020 7233 0081.