Insights on Leadership from Rudy Giuliani

by Kathryn Rose on

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be one of the social media keynote speakers at the Small Business Survival Summit with some other incredible social media experts including Chris Treadaway, Dan Zarrella, Neal Schaffer, Apryl Parcher and Heather Graham.  We all came together to share our social media knowledge with a hungry audience of  SMB’s looking for better, more effective ways to gain exposure for their businesses.  I was also thrilled to “open” for America’s Mayor Rudy Giuliani.  He appeared at the summit at what was, I’m sure, an extremely busy week–the week preceding the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks– to share his insights on small business growth and leadership with the crowd.

It was an uplifting keynote that had some great takeaways, including his insights into what makes a strong leader.  I wanted to share some of them with you:

  1. Have strong beliefs. He talked about his time working for Ronald Reagan and the fact that whether or not you agreed with him, he had strong core beliefs and he never compromised them.  Stick to your core beliefs unless there is compelling and overwhelming evidence not to, do not get swayed by public opinion or what others say you should be doing.
  2. Be an optimist. People want to follow positive people.  Be cognizant of the realities of situations, but always look for the solution.  He tells his own staff that before they knock on his door with a problem, they should have a solution in mind.  Even if it’s not the correct solution, think about how you can solve the problem and then everyone can brainstorm ideas.
  3. Have courage. You must overcome your fears of making the wrong decision, success, failure or whatever it is that you are afraid of.  True heroes are those who act in spite of their fears.
  4. Always Be Preapred. If you don’t plan you won’t know where you are going.  He talked about the day that the terrorists struck his city.  They had plans for all sorts of things, massive fires, flooding, etc. but nothing for planes flying into buildings.  But because they had plans for other disasters, he and his team were able to cobble together an evacuation and rescue and recovery plan for lower Manhattan.
  5. You need a team. He said that if a small business person thinks they can do it alone, they are kidding themselves.  You cannot possibly do everything and do it well.  He said to ask yourself “what are my weaknesses?” He says that if you can’t think of anything, then you should ask your spouse (HA). True leaders know their weaknesses and then find people that will fill the void.

He also mentioned the importance of communicating with your staff and getting real feedback from them as to your leadership, the direction of your organization, etc.  He believes that true leaders are motivators and teachers and learn through others.  You should also be sure to track and measure your success.  You don’t know if your plan is effective unless you measure results.

What are your thoughts on the qualities of great leader?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Keith Daw September 13, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Lead by example. You cannot expect your team or your colleagues to have faith in you if you do not practice what you preach.

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Naomi September 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm

That is awesome Kathryn that you were able to speak at this event! Also to hear great input from Rudy Giuliani is truly remarkable..True leadership is finding ways to serve & help the people that one leads and being willing to listen to input for continued growth.

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Susan Raisch October 6, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Great and insightful post, Kathryn!

When Rudy Giuliani was Time Man of the Year for 2001, there was one line in the cover article that struck — and stuck — with me. The writer said that he walked (physically and mentally) into the disaster. It was true and for that reason, anything he has to say about leadership is worthy in my book.

The only thing I think he could add, is “Be Honest.”

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