Home > crisis > Leadership in the Aftermath of 9/11

Leadership in the Aftermath of 9/11

On September 11, 2001 we experienced the destructive power of evil leadership and the resilient power of heroic leadership by FDNY, NYPD, political leaders, and everyday citizens.

Regardless of your political feelings, former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani’s leadership during the 9/11 tragedy is something leaders from all walks of life can learn from. In his book Leadership he writes, “It is in times of crisis that good leaders emerge.”

During a major national crisis, Giuliani demonstrated that leaders must do four critical things: be highly visible, composed, vocal, and resilient.

  • Be Visible: Leaders must be out front, not running or hiding from the crisis. They must go to the scene of disaster and stand front and center. They must accurately assess the situation as well as show their concern, and demonstrate confidence that we will persevere.
  • Be Composed: No matter how difficult things may seem, leaders must maintain poise under pressure. People are looking at body language and listening to the tone of your voice to determine whether they should panic or remain calm.
  • Be Vocal: Leaders must speak up to take charge of what people are thinking and feeling during the crisis. You must reassure them and give a specific plan to get everyone through the crisis.
  • Be Resilient: As difficult as the crisis can seem, remind people that there is hope.While your challenges likely pale in comparison to 9/11, they can still debilitate those on your team. Give your team a sense of hope. Let them know that they have the ability to make it through the crisis.
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