President Reagan, by contrast, acted on beliefs. “Ronald Reagan wouldn’t have done this,” he said. “He had a guiding vision.”
Giuliani said leaders have to reassess their vision periodically. This holds true for a business as much as a government.
The second element of leadership, he said, is to be an optimist.
Giuliani said after Sept. 11 he refused to give in to his emotions. “You’ve got to be an optimist if you want to get through life and you want to be successful,” he said.
At the same time, a leader has to identify a correct course of action.
The third element of leadership is courage. “Courage is really, really important and highly misunderstood,” he said.
He said courage requires being willing to take risks.
The fourth element of leadership is relentless preparation. He said he learned this from New York City firefighters. Firefighters enter burning buildings equipped with a lot of safety gear and a lot of training.
“See how you can reduce risks,” he said. “Fear should guide you, but fear should alert you to risk.”
The fifth principle of leadership is team work. “Nobody achieves anything without the help of other people,” he said.
Giuliani said one of the first questions a leader asks himself is, “what are my weaknesses?” He then organizes a team that balances his weaknesses.
“Team work is all a matter of blending strengths and weaknesses,” he said.
As mayor, he knew how to address crime, but not budget issues. Hence, he developed a team with expertise in budget areas. “I had to get the best people to help me,” he said.
The sixth principle of leadership is communication. “You cannot expect them (subordinates) to know what you want,” he said. In failing businesses, he said the failure is usually the result of lack of communication.
To be a good leader, one must like and care about others, he said.
The first question Giuliani was asked during the question period was whether he will run for president in 2012.
Giuliani said he believes Obama has been a very ineffective president, and he wants to see him defeated. Giuliani said he will decide if a Republican candidate exists who can defeat Obama before deciding if he will run.
Giuliani said Obama is using his agencies in a way never seen before; he is using executive agencies to enact new laws as a way to circumvent Congress.
Asked what a fair tax rate would be, Giuliani answered somewhere between zero and 50 percent. He said the government should not be the senior partner in the nation’s economy.
He said he is in favor of a flat tax, whereby everyone (except for the poor) pay the same tax rate. He said the poor should pay a lower tax rate, but they should still pay taxes.
Giuliani repeated his belief that government is wasteful, and the more power the government has, the worse off the country becomes. “Every dollar you send to Washington is inefficient,” he said.