by Steve Adubato, PhD
Rudy Giuliani has written a new book called "Leadership." In it, the guy who has become known as "America's Mayor" as a result of September 11 offers a range of tips and tools for any leader dealing with any circumstance or situation. Much of what Giuliani offers is not necessarily new or earth shattering, but rather reinforces some things that most managers know but too often don't practice. Here are some of Rudy's rules of leadership:
Sweat the small stuff. Giuliani says that leaders who micromanage get a bad rap. He argues that it is critically important to understand how something works so you can evaluate the performance of those who work for you, but also to ask probing questions of the process. He also says getting involved in certain details communicates to your team that you really care. However, this "small stuff" approach can be taken to an extreme, thereby denying the leader the opportunity of seeing the forest from the trees.
Meetings matter a lot. Giuliani swears by the daily 8 a.m. meeting he conducted as mayor of New York. He says it wasn't just the idea of meeting itself that mattered, but how those meetings were conducted. Giuliani set the tone in those meetings in which each manager was expected to report on relevant information, but also respond to difficult challenges and questions.
Leaders have to control their emotions under pressure. Giuliani says there is a big difference between expressing panic during a crisis as opposed to having a "concerned" attitude. Panic only makes things worse while concern communicates seriousness. Giuliani says it was this approach of not letting himself become paralyzed regardless of the situation that helped him lead effectively in the aftermath of September 11.
Actively seek input and advice from others with more experience and expertise than you. Giuliani says too often leaders think that reaching out for help communicates weakness or vulnerability when in fact quite the opposite is true. The key is for the leader to be secure enough to admit that he or she doesn't have all the answers (no one does) and enthusiastically receive contributions from others.
Great leaders are not afraid to make really tough decisions. Making the right choices is the most important part of leadership, says Giuliani. He argues that many CEOs and other top players in corporate America engage in procrastination, which has the potential of paralyzing an organization.
Great leaders don't hide behind other people. They are willing to take responsibility for their decisions and choices and not allow those around them to filter valuable information and take the hit when things go wrong. This is all about accountability. If a leader is held accountable for his actions, it makes it clear to other team members that they, too, will be held to the same standard.
Leadership has a lot to do with the language you use. Giuliani says it took him years to understand that as a leader, he needed to communicate using words that would connect with people on a deeper level. The point is not to alter your message depending upon your audience, but to present it so that it could be understood by whomever you are addressing.
Don't be a bully when you are in charge. To his credit, Giuliani acknowledges that he was somewhat of a bully as mayor, imposing his will through intimidation. He says over time he learned that such a strategy created unnecessary enemies and obstacles.
Finally, Giuliani argues that great leaders never stop learning, especially about themselves and what they need to improve.