Creating Culture Is Most Important Job of A Leader

At Inc.’s annual Leadership Forum this week, CitiStorage Founder Norm Brodsky related both his successes and failures as a leader. The two top lessons he learned: 1) Leadership communication does not mean yelling at people and maintaining tight control over them, and 2) a leader’s most important job is to create a strong culture. And, I would add, storytelling is a key leadership communication tool for doing just that.

In an article by Issie Lapowsky posted yesterday on Inc.’s blog, Brodsky said in his first business, “If an employee messed up, I yelled at them or fired them. I was a control freak.” He credits his wife with helping him learn better ways of interacting with people and developing better leadership skills. When he started CitiStorage, he told the audience, he focused on building a strong culture–one that emphasizes ways to help employees succeed.

He realized by then that the way he treated employees and the benefits he offered were as important as the way he treated customers. “It’s all part of culture,” he said. “When you have a warm nurturing culture people like, they’ll stay with you.”

The companies featured in Around the Corporate Campfire: How Great Leaders Use Stories to Inspire Success bear this out. Storytelling companies recognize the importance of taking good care of their employees as well as their customers–and their use of stories serves is part of the glue that binds everyone together. Most of the companies’ employee turnover rate is among the lowest in their industry.

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