The Leadership Triangle: It’s Not Only About The Leader

May 9, 2013 • LEADERSHIP, Leadership Development, STRATEGY & MANAGEMENT, Team Managment

By Art Padilla & Laura Gail Lunsford

In order to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the leadership process, we must steer away from leader-centric analysis, towards a more holistic, contextual approach. Leadership behaviour is continually influenced by political and group dynamic and we must therefore not underestimate the role of followers and environments when it comes to measuring the success of our leaders.


The “Keep Rudy” movement

Rudolph “Rudy” Giuliani was mayor of New York City from January 1, 1994, to December 31, 2001. Before serving as mayor, he was a U.S. Attorney and prosecuted well-publicized trials against the Mafia heads of New York’s “Five Families” and Wall Street insider traders Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken. As mayor he was credited with reducing crime and improving tourist areas around Times Square. But during much of Giuliani’s tenure as mayor, and especially during a contentious campaign for U.S. Senate against Hillary Clinton, the Democrats and the liberal media did not hold him in high esteem.1

Then the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, ensued. Suddenly, a “new” Mayor Giuliani emerged, empathetic and inspirational. The mayor was everywhere: at the site of the former World Trade towers, encouraging the firemen and other rescuers, on television and radio, at funerals for victims of the tragedy consoling relatives. Public opinion, particularly among the liberal media, changed dramatically. Giuliani was now governing with effectiveness and compassion. Major recognitions were forthcoming: for his work during and after September 11, Giuliani was given an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth and Time Magazine named him “Person of the Year” for 2001.2

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