January - Six Qualities of Leadership
Six Qualities of Leadership
Where did 2006 go? It seems like we were just starting 2006 and “Bam” it’s gone! And now we start 2007. Time always passes faster when we are having fun!
Mr. Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, who so valiantly and bravely guided the city through the 9/11 crisis, has a list of leadership qualities that he endeavors to live by and practice.
I thought it would be worth our time to use this first month of the year to review and explore these traits. I know that I can use these and hopefully you will find them to be helpful as well.
SIX QUALITIES OF LEADERSHIP:
Direction – “We must have direction and a goal or leadership is only reactionary,” says Mr. Giuliani. Good leaders accept the criticism that goes along with unwavering goals. He also used former President Ronald Reagan as an example of a “goal setter” who would never change directions or rationalize on a change until his plan was accomplished. Good leaders in any walk of life should establish goals; evaluate the problems with the long-term outcome in mind.
Optimism – Mr. Giuliani credited his optimism for driving his quick decision-making on 9/11. He stated that he saw and lived through things that he never imagined before and needed to be an optimist through the worst circumstances. He also mentioned that his father taught him a lesson that was helpful through 9/11. When people get into an emergency, they usually panic. Become the calmest person in the room, even if you aren’t. Most people follow those with hopes and reams and have solutions to problems. Pessimists say that things are worse and won’t get any better--follow me.
Courage – Courage is not the absence of fear, but is acknowledging the presence and overcoming it. Fear is a good thing, in that it acts as a warning. Firefighters are good examples--they use fear to train, practice, and reduce risk. They assess risk, not ignore it, and make the best decisions.
Preparation – Mentally practicing for the worst case situations enables you to figure out the best way to handle things. A good example that Mr. Giuliani used was the New York Exchange’s ability to quickly recover from 9/11. They said that their organization was adequately prepared for worst case scenarios. He said that when the 2nd plane hit the tower, he knew we were under a terrorist attack. He had to start making decisions. He used the existing plans and built on them. Communication became critical and his preparation and planning ensured that all team members were speaking the same language. When he made statements involving the resolving of problems, all the folks knew what to do.
Teamwork – Mr. Giuliani knew the importance of creating teams that balance your weaknesses with the strengths of other members. “No one single person can get you through anything difficult.” Having a team in place was critical during this crisis. “If I made a mistake, there was someone there to rectify it.”
Communication – Plans are not good if they can’t be communicated to others. ”The best way to communicate effectively is to do the five other things and be yourself. Communicating becomes just talking to people.
Conclusion – As leaders in education and in academia, Mr. Giuliani’s “Quick Leadership Tips” can serve us as an inspiration throughout our careers.
~ Train yourself to see problems as challenges.
~ Realize you will have fears and be afraid.
~ Do everything you can to learn how to handle situations.
~ Recognize that you don’t know everything.
~ Love and care for people-not statistics. “Recognize that running an organization is about running people.”
(KEEP IT SAFE & SOUND)
POSITIVE ATTITUDES HAVE A POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON SAFETY
Ted Gordon is the Risk Management/Loss Control Manager for the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His office is located in the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, in Verona, MS. His telephone number is 662-566-2201.