This is the script of this morning’s Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Next week sees the tenth anniversary of the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. To my shame – so I am told – I can’t remember much about the athletics, but, like millions of people, I found the opening ceremony unforgettable. We were presented with a vision of Britain that, in one sense, we wanted to see – of civilisation and development, of community resilience and a generous collective altruism.

Inevitably, it represented a particular take on our island histories. But, few came away from it unmoved – if not for the history depicted, then at least by the scale of the drama.

Looking back on how the opening ceremony was conceived, one of the key participants said: “If you didn’t know what Danny Boyle looked like, you wouldn’t know who was leading the meeting … He didn’t lead by dominance or by being extrovert; he led by listening. We all felt heard. I think this work turned out the way it did because Danny was a great listener.”

Interesting, isn’t it? Leadership by listening.

I think there are several strands to this phenomenon.

First, good leadership starts with learning the language of the led. We can’t know how to speak if we haven’t taken the time to learn what might actually be heard.

Secondly, it’s in the telling of stories that we begin to piece together a narrative that connects with the audience and makes sense of their experience of the world. Only having listened to people telling their story can I begin to shape what I might call The Story.

Now, none of this is new. As a Christian I can’t escape the constant reminder that in the Gospels Jesus puts time into gathering or walking with his friends and taking them and their questions – even their fantasies and misconceptions – seriously. He never derides them. But, in re-framing stories, he treats them like adults – making their own mind up and taking responsibility for what they do about it.

In Luke’s Gospel, for example, during dinner at the house of a religious leader a woman bursts in and pays embarrassing  attention to Jesus, the guest. The host sneerily questions Jesus’s moral rectitude in not rejecting the woman. But, rather than point out the host’s hypocrisy, he asks if he can tell a story. The host agrees … and thereby opens himself up to making a judgment on his own arrogance.

So, as we celebrate the anniversary next week, it’s worth reflecting on how stories shape our memories, but also shape our view of what we want to become.