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The Obama Leadership Style

A fascinating image of the leadership style of President Obama has been emerging in the last few days. On one level, he's viewed as an excellent delegator of responsibility to competent and capable persons, and keen at placing some of the best qualified persons into major positions of authority within his administration. On the other hand, he's unafraid to take a "hands on" approach and make many important and hard decisions on his own. The image of a strong and mature top chief executive for the nation is emerging as good as any top corporate CEO. A top CEO this good could have made a lot more money in the private sector rather than public service.

A further reassuring fact about the leadership strengths of President Obama was the finely tuned precision of his campaign both during the primary and general election seasons. This campaign was so well managed that their were very few flaws or mistakes. And the strategy was so carefully choregraphed that Mr. Obama was able to upend both Hillary Clinton who was the heavy favorite to win the Democratic nomination as well as war hero John McCain in the general election. If Mr. Obama can only continue this excellent choreography during his presidency, then his administration should not only be highly successfully, but the nation should witness substantial progress on his policies taking effect as well.obama_family_pan_426813a.jpg

It's sort of ironic that Mr. Obama who was a constitutional law professor before becoming an U.S. Senator only a few scant years ago is a substantially better business manager than President Bush who was the nation's first MBA and had some substantial business management background. But part of the fact might just be that Mr. Obama surrounds himself with excellent staff and advisors who reach a consensus on what the best possible path to follow should be. If anything, it's a model good enough to run a mega-corporation like GM could seriously use to turn around their dire situation.

A further reassuring note was that Mr. Obama was unafraid to give a very serious and somber address at his inaugural and face cold hard facts and truths and to honestly confront the American public when some serious action is required on their part. It is a perfect portrait of a president with complete self confidence and as much honesty as can be expected from a mortal human. It's a pretty impressive leadership style.

Overall, a strong portrait of an honest leader willing to make hard choices and confront issues head-on is emerging. His first week in office has been impressive, where every day briefings about the economic news are now common, as well as hands-on discussions of other pressing issues.

This is a portrait of a fully engaged, no nonsense, leader. It is also a pretty good indication that the long primary and general election season redeemed itself by helping to wisely winnow perhaps the strongest leader of all the potential contenders by far.

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Comments (7)

Steve Crickmore:

A nice rundown but Obama has been genuine and able his entire career from the time he was editor of the Law Review long before the primaries whereas someone like clear-cut hedge fund Edwards has always been a phony. Richardson and Biden were the old style of politics and Hillary Clinton well I don`t know what to make of her?


The author of this article is seriously confused. I will dwell on only one example of his confusion, his hilarious assertion that it is "ironic that Mr. Obama who was a constitutional law professor before becoming an U.S. Senator only a few scant years ago is a substantially better business manager than President Bush who was the nation's first MBA and had some substantial business management background."

There is no 'irony' here at all. Rather, it is precisely because our MBAs are so atrocious that Bush, who got an MBA, was such a terrible manager, and Obama, who did not get an MBA, is so much better.

Why, I remember how even my first boss when I got my first real job complained at how Harvard Business School was turning out MBAs trained to destroy instead of create. And since that time, I have not only confirmed his observation with so many of the MBA's I worked with, but have seen that it is getting worse, not better.

The disastrous mismanagement of all those financial companies that destroyed our financial system this last year illustrates it, too. They were doing exactly as they had been trained to do, and their training led the whole nation over the precipice.

The country was far better off when our leaders took as examples of leadership, those great men who also happened to be great business men. But like Lee Iaccoca complains in the book by that title, "Where Have all the Leaders Gone"?

The answer is: we have driven them far, far away!

Lee Ward:

I think there are basic personality type differences between someone who would choose to teach Constitutional law, like Obama, versus an MBA grad like Bush -- and I wouldn't place all of the blame on Harvard or any other university for 'cranking out' bad MBA eggs.

Ask yourself -- what makes a person altruistically study law -- versus someone who studies business so he can enter Daddy's oil business...

I think you may find substantial differences right there at the nut of that question, and at the core of the individuals in question, before any degrees come into play.


But I've seen charismatic politicians and pretty families come and go like sunrises and sunsets over the years. There was something more that was making people go ga-ga over Obama. Something deeper. We've been watching that something this week, and it's called leadership. President Obama has been feeding the almost desperate hunger in this country for mature leadership, for someone who is not reckless and clownish, shortsighted and self-absorbed.

George W. Bush was the kind of person that even monks would make jokes about. There were so many areas with which to pick to attack or criticize. But the man lived in a bubble for eight years. Well, he probably still lives in that bubble. But if he was aware that people didn't like him, he never really let on. And certainly not when it mattered. But two people in eight years truly got past the barrier, and actually expressed to Bush the thoughts, views, and opinions expressed by citizens who weren't otherwise able to penetrate the thick bubble: the shoe thrower in Iraq and Stephen Colbert.

The corporate media's job is not to report the truth to the lowly masses, it is to shape public opinion for the benefit of the corporate/upper class. The righties seem to think America exists to serve the interests of the right.


you forgot another important part of Obama's management style: his ability to successfully throw anyone under the bus at any time in order to shift the focus away from him. it also just happens to be a pretty crappy thing that he does.

I think that he has an excellent leadership style, and to put it bluntly, you can see that he's not playin'. He means business.
I think that this man really intends to try his best to fulfill those promises he made pre election. It's going to be damn interesting watching him fight against politics as usual to get it done.

Debra Wright:

YOu mean like that great stimulus plan that has so many items in it that won't stimulate the economy, but are payback for getting him elected, like the contraceptive program, and the billions for "community activist" groups like Acorn? That's really great leadership!
I hope the governmnet will be able to help the economy, but I don't trust the politicians, and remember Obama is a politician, and a shrewd one at that.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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