What does Shakespeare have to do with my job?

We demand a lot from our business leaders. They need to be inspiring, influential, and capable of navigating complex organisational politics. They must also build trust and unite a team around a shared purpose. For leaders, it can feel as if they are being asked to play a lot of very different and challenging roles, all at the same time.

In reality, leadership training often falls short when it comes to helping leaders master these many roles. So how do you create memorable learning experiences that resonate to help solve modern leadership challenges? At Olivier Mythodrama, we harness the power of storytelling using profound Shakespeare tales that are still relevant today.

Shakespeare without the sword waving

Using Shakespeare and other classic stories in leadership development is not about role play, acting or getting dressed up. This misconception can worry people when they attend one of our leadership programmes. Be assured, no tights are involved! What we do is use storytelling and highly relevant themes from classic Shakespeare plays to deliver memorable learning that lasts.

We have all seen PowerPoint presentations, charts and reports delivered by leaders that leave their teams feeling unmoved. That’s why we use stories, because they engage people and are a proven tool for effective learning. The best stories don’t tell people what to think, they invite them to ask questions and think about what could be. They inspire people to do better – to be better.

Storytelling in modern leadership development

Henry V and Julius Caesar are two Shakespeare plays that show inspirational and influential leadership in action. We use these stories to deliver workshops that are powerful and enduring – already experienced by large corporations around the world.

Henry V – Inspirational Leadership

This workshop is based on the principle that if you don’t know what inspires you, it is impossible to inspire others. The play gives leaders a template to evaluate themselves and examine their goals. It’s a unique approach that teaches people how to uncover and tap into their personal story to become an exceptional leader.

  • During the workshop we harness the power of a historic tale of victory against all the odds to help attendees:
  • Improve their ability to communicate effectively, motivate and inspire.
  • Learn tools and techniques to unite a team around common goals, build resilience and trust.
  • Discover their personal leadership styles and uncover how this might impact them – and those around them – positively and negatively.
  • Explore ways of developing emotional intelligence to unleash motivational abilities, build meaningful and lasting relationships – and inspire.

Julius Caesar – Influential Leadership

Politics, power, and influence all play a leading role in modern leadership. And there is no greater tale of politics and power than Julius Caesar. During this workshop, we seek to answer a question that is as relevant today as it was in ancient Rome: “How can I influence others to do what I believe is right – and should be done?”

Not everyone is born with a natural ability to influence positively, read and navigate organisational politics, and create rapport in the workplace. This workshop uses Shakespeare’s remarkable story as a compelling invitation to:

  • Step up the ability to influence, increase influential power – and use it wisely.
  • Better understand the subtleties of effective political manoeuvring.
  • Develop emotional intelligence to create rapport with others.

How does storytelling enhance learning?

Storytelling that contains a compelling narrative, drama, tension and suspense is a natural way to commit important learning to memory. It has been used in almost every culture for thousands of years to pass down wisdom, customs and histories. More recently, MRI scans have shown us that stories synchronise the brain of the storyteller with the brain of their listener. This leads to greater comprehension and creates stronger memories.

What’s more, the chemical changes in the brain that a story inspires also serve to enhance learning experiences. Oxytocin, dubbed the storytelling chemical, creates feelings of trust and empathy. Oxytocin levels are increased by a compelling story and this can make someone want to act like the hero in the story – whether that’s the inspirational Henry V or the influential Brutus and Cassius.

Proven and memorable learning that lasts

We all enjoy a good story. And we now know that the effectiveness of storytelling in leadership development isn’t just a theory – it’s a scientific fact. When we add experiential learning to the power of storytelling, we create life-changing experiences that build enduring self-belief.

Used in this way, profound stories such as the classic tales of Shakespeare can help to develop exceptional leaders. Making Shakespeare as relevant to jobs today as when his plays were first written.

Olivier Mythodrama has been delivering innovative and thought provoking leadership training for over 20 years. The people and organisations we have worked with describe our training as life changing. We think they’re right. We already work with some of the world’s leading businesses. Are you ready to join them?

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