Rudy Giuliani was a man of a principle. His book called Leadership is one of my favorites leadership books and I highly recommend it to everyone. The book begins and ends with Giuliani's diary on 9/11. No words can describe the situation he faced as a mayor of the City. Someone had to take the lead. And it was Rudy Giuliani with George W. Bush who took it. In this book Giuliani opens up some of his key leadership principles. I think there is a lot to learn for all of us. Here is a brief summary of Giuliani's principles:
Develop and Communicate Strong Beliefs: Great leaders lead by ideas. Ideology is enormously important when running any large organization. The people who work for you, those who look to you for answers, the media, even your rivals have a right to know how you see the world. There are three critical steps here. First, you must develop beliefs. Next, you have to communicate them. Finally, you must take action. Expressing ideology is one of a leader's most powerful tools.
Be Your Own Man: Elective politics is a popularity contest. That doesn't mean a leader - of a company, a government, or any organization - should lead with his fingers in the wind. In fact, the opposite is true. A leader is chosen because whoever put him there trusts his judgement, character, and intelligence - not his poll-taking skills. It is a leader's duty to act on those attributes. Be your own man or woman means that you should never feel that you have to sacrifice your principles. In addition, you must set an example. You cannot ask those who work for you to do something you're unwilling to do yourself. It is up to you to set a standard of behavior.
Loyalty: The Vital Virtue: When someone around me is unfairly attacked, I go out of my way to make that person more important. I spend more time with them, and if they are a member of my staff, I see if there's a way I can promote them or give a speech to show that person how cherished they are. Embracing those who are attacked serves two functions: First, it reassures those who work for you and those you want to recruit to work for you. You won't abandon them. You won't betray them at the first sign of trouble. Second, by showing the world that you'll hug a vilified employee that much closer, you remove the incentive to attack. However, standing by someone who's under fire is one thing. Going to bat for someone who's done real wrong is something else. Unfortunately, the line between the two is not always clear. My policy is that the people who work for me deserve the benefit of the doubt. If it turns out they're guilty, there will be time to hold them accountable. But if you abandon them at the first accusation and they're later exonerated you'll never wash away the smell of betrayal. You'll have lost the trust of that employee, and of those who have never been accused. It's not enough for a leader to give and receive loyalty. For loyalty to mean something it has to be established as a culture throughout the organization.
Study. Read. Learn Independently: Teach yourself first and don't leave it to the experts. Any good leader must develop a substantive base. No matter how talented your advisors and deputies, you have to attack challenges with as much of your own knowledge as possible. A leader should have independently acquired understanding of the areas he oversees. Anybody who's going to take on a large organization must put time aside for deep study. Developing your own own expertise is not simply something you ought to do because it's your duty, or even because it's fun to know how things work. It's also the best way to weed out the biases and pretensions among those who want to influence you. Having your own knowledge gives you a frame of reference, helping you decide whether or not to trust the advice someone is giving you. Knowing the fundamentals helps you from being connected. You can't fake expertise. In addition, you'll notice your staff showing up at meeting better prepared, putting more care into their presentations.
Organize Around a Purpose: The first question is always: "What is the mission?". Ask yourself what you'd like to achieve - not day-to-day, but your overarching goal. Then assess and analyze your resources. Finding the right organization structure starts with a mission. Then you have to identify your aims, and what you should do to achieve them; find the right people for the job; and constantly follow up to make sure everyone is sticking to the original purpose, that no one's taken over your team and sidetracked them.
Bride Only Those Who Will Stay Brided: There are plenty of times when a leader is forced to deal with those he is not sure about, or perhaps whose company he doesn't even enjoy. You owe it to those who rely on you to deal with whoever is best able to serve their interests, but you have to set at least minimum standards. As Reagan put it, trust but verify. Sometime a leader has no alternative but to deal with someone untrustworthy. In business, in politics, in any organization, you must apply to institutional decisions the wisdom acquired from individual relationships, because institutions are largely just reflections of individual behavior. Any leader is only as good as his word.
Other points by Giuliani
- The importance of developing strong beliefs is one of the reasons I favor politicians who have accomplished something substantial outside the political realm. Those who have spent their entire life in politics often become spin artists rather than thinkers. They lose attention span. Young people who go directly into elective politics often lose the ability to think critically.
- Too often in government, all an employee has to do is show up and go through the motions. If employees have been given any objective targets at all, they often have little to do with actual goals. I wanted to change that mindset, and decided to start with the highest-profile agency, one whose performance could be measured not just in the saving of dollars, but in saving of lives.
- The overall leader must identify and install the right managers. Those who need their hands held and want every move to originate at headquarters will never succeed. The leader's job is to set the tone and agenda, including specific targets for managers in the field, and to supply whatever advice, encouragement, and resources are needed to meet those targets.
- To be happy and fulfilled, I had to serve a greater cause - helping others.
- A society that believes in the rights and value of the individual human being allow citizens to elect their leaders, to decide what to believe, to stake claims to better lives.
- Assigning too many people to a task significantly reduces the quality of performance. It's tempting to think, "There's no harm in having more than we need" - but staff hanging around uselessly encourages others to do likewise. Any system functions best when the right number of staff is used, and any excess money can be employed to rebuild the business and reward high performers.
- The notion that changing your mind about an issue shows weakness is ridiculous.
- A real leader, one who leads from a true heart and honest mind, won't deny an emerging belief simply because it makes him uncomfortable.
- You are either with civilization or with terrorists.
- What the terrorists were striking at were not just American buildings and American lives, but mostly American ideas. They were intimidated not only by our success but only our openness and freedom. The people who attacked us were threatened by three main aspects about our society. One was the democratic electoral process by which we chose our leaders. The second was religious freedom, which included the freedom not to be religious. Third was capitalism, and our success as a wealthy country, which included our success in leading people out of poverty.
- There is a difference between the guy at ease with questions and the guy who's nervous, and it usually has nothing to do with how much one knows. It's about self-confidence.
- I became a much better political speaker when I went back to what I used to do in court: master the material, organize it, then throw the text away and just talk. It annoys me when people read their speeches.
- The details and the substance are vital: they have to be there or you'll be exposed. But there's a time to win hearts and minds and there are times for details, and you have to pick your spots.
- In eight years, I missed only one day of work through sickness - when I had surgery for treatment of my cancer. I took no weeks off, and my longest "vacation" was a single four-day trip after the 1997 election.
- The most important element of setting an example isn't attitude or diligence, but performing some of the tasks that you ask others to execute. If you can do what the people working for you do as well as the best of them, your ability to lead is enhanced tremendously. That doesn't mean you have to be the best at everything. In a complicated system, that's not only impossible, it's undesirable - a leader needs the expertise of specialists and shouldn't undermine them or interfere. Leading any enterprise means that management duties will take up the lion's share of your time. Nevertheless, leaders shouldn't abandon the trenches to pay attention only to the "big picture".
- As a Republican mayor in a city dominated by Democrats, I was accustomed to disagreements. Many of my philosophical underpinnings were not typical of New York City voters, and certainly at odds with the views of most of the city's elected officials and media. I stuck to my guns on every one - low taxes, small government, strong law enforcement, shrinking welfare rolls, privatizing services, results-based teacher evaluations, favoring competition, and believing in capitalism as a force for good.
- A leader must not let critics set the agenda.
- While trying to retain humility, you must accept that the reason you're making decisions and other people are not is because, for now, you're in charge and they aren't.
- Once you make decision, then your job is to present the facts in the light most likely to persuade. The idea is to take something complicated and explain it so that people could understand it.
- Those first five minutes, when the jury looks at you and wants to hear what's coming out of your mouth - that's the optimal opportunity to get them moving in the right direction. You've got to seize it. Don't save your best argument for last, when maybe only a third of them are listening.
- Any large group is bound to have intramural rivalries, and if people are talented and driven, a number of them will think they're the smartest in the room. To a degree, that's a good thing. Competition often brings out the best. When competitive rivalries turn to sniping, however, a leader has to remind everyone that they are all working toward the same ultimate goals. It tests the loyalty of people to the organization.
- From the beginning I established a rule: you can ask any question you want. I will let you complete your question. I will not interrupt you, no matter how angry and upset I get. In exchange, you have to listen to my answer respectfully, without interrupting. And if you don't, you are first warned, then thrown out, because I won't let you disrupt the 400 other people there.
- One of the best lessons a leader can communicate to his or her staff is that encountering problems is to be expected. But failing to mention problems - or, worse, covering them up - should not be tolerated.