Rudy Giuliani gives pointers to make leadership effective

By FIL C. SIONIL – Going back to basics, such as setting priorities and objectives, is imperative for a leader, be it in business and politics, to surmount and survive the current turmoil that pervades the global landscape.

Photo: Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who became a global figure for his leadership during the terrorist attack on the 11 September 2001 World Trade Center, answers questions from journalists in a suburban hotel in the heart of the financial district of Makati City, south of Manila, Tuesday, 29 July 2008. Mr. Giuliani was the guest resource person and talks about leadership in times of crisis in a forum held in the same area. (Photograph: Voltaire Domingo/NPPA Images)

This basically is the most vital of the six qualities a leader needs that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani imparted to the participants of the one-day lecture series entitled “Leadership in Times of Crisis” held yesterday in Makati City.

Giuliani, who withdrew in the middle of the primaries for the US presidential nominations in favor of his long time friend, Senator John McCain, said its was important for a leader for first know his goals and everything else will fall into place.

“Attaining the goal is the fulcrum. Everything will revolve around it.”

Like in his case, Giuliani explained he has to step out of the primaries because of his goal to instead support and help out McCain win the nomination.

But Giuliani does not rule out the possibility of him becoming McCain’s running mate for the grand old party. “I am open to accepting anything that John McCain wants me.”

Guillani’s name along with Governor Met Romney had been floated to be among those being considered for the second highest political post.

In this very dynamic environment, Guillani observed that “too many people don’t even know where they are going,” allowing themselves to wallow in public opinion, which he opined is, altogether, off beam.

“If you want to be a good political leader, know what you believe. In a democracy with so much media pushing back and forth, stick by what you believe. Otherwise, you’re not a leader but a follower or a good actor,” pointed out the visiting Guillani.

According to Guillani, an effective leader, likewise, must have courage, the optimism; the preparedness; able to work with the team and must possess good communication lines.

These qualities have to be present in a person, either steering a business or involved in politics. He pointed out that to lead “you better be an optimist” to attack, confront any problem or situation at hand, which is better and “fun rather then being a pessimist.”

“Optimism is essential,” Guillani said, particularly during a crisis situation because this sets the tone on how to address and find solution as well as good for the team.

Having a positive or outlook goes with possessing enough courage to “take the risk,” whether such is a popular or unpopular more, he said.

This particular prescription hits a home run in the local political landscape in the aftermath of Monday’s state of the nation address of President Gloria Macapacagal-Arroyo, where she enumerated the achievements of her administration amidst the bitter pills and the unpopular moves her government have to adopt to fortify the state’s fiscal position, specifically her steadfast decision to keep the value added tax on oil and other petroleum products.

However, Guillani qualified that confronting risk must only be undertaken with total preparation, which include other factors that could impede the attainment of one’s objective.

Guillani said “relentless preparation is the key to crisis management.”

It is an essential tool to “reduce the risk,” thus allowing a leader to “anticipate” any issues and collateral effects that may arise.

Once the goals and objective have been set in place, the correct attitude and necessary preparations made, what follows is to have a good communication line to be able to telegraph what needs to be done.

“Most of the things we do in life is team work. A person in charge should understand that” and this include acceptance of one’s weaknesses and strengths,” dished out Guillani.

As a leader, one must know how to balance his strength and weakness by getting people who can compensate for these qualities and/or shortcomings as well as possess the all essential “people’s skills” to get the best out of the team.

With this, comes “sprit de corps.”

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