Leader Analysis: President Barrack Obama
Leadership is commonly defined as the activity of directing, coordinating, guiding, and leading people towards the achievement of a particular task or goal. Accordingly, a leader is a person who drives people towards the achievement of a certain aim. Leaders assist themselves and others by doing the right things: they set direction, take charge in creating something new, and build an inspiring vision of people’s future. Thus, leadership is mostly about identifying where one needs to go thereby winning as a whole team. It is dynamic, inspiring, and exciting. Moreover, leadership entails developing a clear vision and sharing that vision with others so that they may follow willingly. It also involves providing information, methods, and knowledge required for the realization of the set vision as well as coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all stakeholders, members, and citizens. A leader steps up in crisis times and can act and think creatively in hard situations (McIlwain, 2007). In essence, leaders are fully expected to have unique traits that give them the ability to lead in their fields. This paper, therefore, is a detailed analysis of President Barrack Obama as a political leader in the United States of America.
Currently, Barack Obama is a prominent American politician serving as the 44th president of the US, and the first African-American to be elected to the office. Scrutinizing his biography, one should start with a fact that Barrack Obama was born in 1964 in Honolulu, Hawaii. In time, Obama became an alumnus of the law school at Harvard and Columbia University. Additionally, he was the president of Harvard law review in the Harvard law school and a society organizer in Chicago before attaining his law degree. Later, Barack Obama worked as the attorney of civil right and taught constitutional law at the Chicago law school amid 1992 and 2004 (Kloppenberg, 2011). From 1997 to 2004 he also served for three terms representing the 13th district in the senate of Illinois. Nevertheless, the real national attention Barack Obama received only in 2004 in the campaign to represent Illinois in the US Senate with his supremacy in the March Democratic Party primary election. Later, public attention was turned to Obama’s figure due to his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July and his election to the Senate in November. After, Obama instigated his campaign in 2007 and won sufficient delegates to receive presidential nomination in the Democratic Party primaries. He won these delegates in 2008 after a close primary campaign in opposition to Hilary Rodham Clinton (Kloppenberg, 2011). During a general election, he defeated John McCain, a Republican nominee, and finally, was inaugurated as a President of the US in 2009, January 20. It is also important to mention that Obama was designated the 2009 Nobel peace prize laureate nine months after his inauguration.
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During the first two years of his presidency, Barack Obama signed into various economic stimuli. Some of the stimuli signed include Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, Tax Relief, and Job Creation Act of 2010. Moreover, Obama spearheaded other domestic initiatives such as the Patient Protection Care, the Consumer Protection Act, and the Street Reform Act. He also ended the military participation in the Iraq War although increased the level of troops in Afghanistan. Finally, it was Barack Obama ordered the military operation that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. In 2012, Obama was reelected for a second term of the presidency while defeated Mitt Romney, a Republican nominee. During his second service, Barack Obama has promoted numerous domestic policies, which influenced American society in varying degrees (Kloppenberg, 2011). A great extent to which Obama managed to impart the world due to his leadership skills motivated to choose this person for the analysis.
Barack Obama portrays many leadership strengths that resulted in many impacts in the American society. The first strength is considered his ability to shape the future as indicated by his visionary character and his new approach to politics. Obama constantly announced different strategies for moving the country forward; moreover, these strategies were fresh ones and rather different from his predecessors’ (Greenstein, 2011). Concerning the international policy, Barack Obama worked effectively while proposing shifts in the US relationship with other countries and the relationship between the citizens. In his presidential campaign, he also made developments on the grassroots strategy that had been started by Howard Dean. As a president, Obama continuously provided clear views on various matters affecting the country. For instance, he embraced new technological tactics that would aid in solving the economic crisis (Kloppenberg, 2011). He was also able to offer military support as seen in the case of the Iraq war. Moreover, the president offered care reforms through various Acts, which essentially helped in improving the American’s health standards. Considering the ecological policy, Obama was on the front line in the matters of climate change in an attempt to improve the Americans’ environment and living conditions.
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Another Obama’s strength is seen through his willingness to invest in himself. Leaders have to invest progressively in their spiritual, intellectual, physical, and emotional improvement to be able to deal with leadership demands (“Technology,” n.d.). In this regard, Obama himself is a story of a leadership change. His 1994 autobiography portrays him as a person who always inquires to know what he stands for, and how he can continually improve on delivering his promises. His tactic of constant investment in the personal growth and development made Obama a strong leader who can withstand all the countries demand and tough times. This strength aids in spearheading societal development since it produces a leader who can find solutions in all situations, and this is what President Barrack Obama has been able to do for the American society (Greenstein, 2011).
The office of the United States is a multifaceted that requires the usage of different leadership styles by the President. During his two terms of service, Barack Obama has used three kinds of leadership style: cross-cultural, transformational-charismatic, and contingency-situational. Specifically, he applied the transformational-charismatic leadership in various ways: for instance, before being elected, Obama drew the voters and the forerunners’ attention with a seemingly charismatic nature. In this regard, Greenstein (2011) states that a charismatic leader can attract others to his side and move them to achieve a goal that is essentially bigger than they are themselves.
A charismatic approach is usually considered transformational if it invokes a lasting change in people who embrace the vision of the leader. During his first term of service, Obama wooed some people to his vision by showing the potential to make a big difference in both the foreign and domestic affairs. However, in his second term, he demonstrated less ability to draw others to his agenda. What is also important, Barrack Obama was able to use the cross-cultural global leadership during his presidency: he formulated different cross-cultural approaches to the international policy not only in the interests of the US but also in the interests of other countries. To illustrate, during his opening six months as the head of the country, Obama traveled abroad more than any other US president and seemed to give maximum consideration to the cultural norms of the places he visited. After his first year of presidency, Barack Obama decided to adopt a conciliatory approach to the Middle East, Russia and China, which was welcomed by the world community and led to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize by the President. Considering smaller details, Obama tried to learn the greeting customs of even small nations like Cambodia, thus, showing respects to their states. Therefore, during his initial five years as a country leader, President Obama not only used the culturally sensitive and transformational leadership approaches but also responded to various situations using the contingency leadership. To exemplify, when faced the failing automobile industry, Obama did not crumble words but stood tough to call for the crucial changes. This was evidenced by how he strained GM and Chrysler to agree to the new MPG standards and strip down their long-time commitment to NASCAR (Greenstein, 2011).
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Apart from applying the mentioned-above forms of leadership to his political behavior, Obama also used other ways of dealing with rising issues. Thus, he worked hard to accomplish what he promised to the voters and did not hide from the challenges that he faced under conditions of current economic troubles (“Technology,” n.d.). Essentially, the President showed a preference for gathering information from a variety of sources rather that depending solely on the administration officials and the advisors. When dealing with the members of Congress, Obama preferred to avoid unnecessary conflicts by remaining above the fray in highly heated, divisive debates. Moreover, he has the uniqueness in defending his policies in person rather than relying on the administration officials to speak for him. Obama also believes that technology is the key to a better economy. He, therefore, relied on technology to address various issues affecting the country’s economy (“Technology,” n.d.).
In addition to the above-mentioned strengths, Obama as a leader has a variety of skills that helped him succeed in the administration. For instance, he has a useful skill of making things happen. To put it differently, Obama tends to turn what he wants into what is done with the support of the majority status in the Congress and his bully pulpit. Moreover, he has presented himself as a world leader who can collaborate, cajole, counsel, and persuade others to deliver. His economic bills and policies have pulled the country’s economy out of its plummet, thus, saving the Unites States from an economic collapse. Because of the mentioned skill to make things happen, Obama also managed to extend the health insurance to four million children from the middle class. Furthermore, he succeeded in helping the Environmental Protection Administration Authority limit the climate warming pollution under the Clean Air Act (Smallwood, 2009).
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Further demonstration of Barrack Obama’s leadership skills is clearly seen in his capacity to engage talented people in improving the country’s affairs. This way, he obtains the short-term tough work done while maintaining high esprit de corps. In addition, Barack Obama as a president developed good teamwork skills and, thus, did not do things alone. As an illustration, to win the election, Obama formed a national network of organizers and made them work effectively by providing cooperation and support for them. In the president office, Obama used a team-of-rivals approach to select his cabinet and, thus, today he has a high level of engagement and support from his team (Smallwood, 2009). The next skill Barack Obama actively uses as a president is the ability to build the next generation and work for a long-term future. Leaders build the next generation when they pay attention to establishing the skills that are required not just for a short period but also for a long-term future. Accordingly, Obama laid the proper groundwork for the next generation as seen in his push for climate change, health care, and infrastructure development among other things. In return, the result of this skill affected the society positively by laying a foundation for a better future (Smallwood, 2009).
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Generally, Barack Obama possesses many traits that have helped him in his leadership role. For instance, he is regarded ambitious, considerate, and gracious. People who possess this type of personality are usually rather energetic, charming, and agreeable with a special talent for handling differences. They prefer using mediation and compromise to force or coercion as a strategy for resolving a conflict. One of the most strenuous tasks that the world leaders frequently face is balancing time between their actual family and the country’s population. Obama is considered a family man who tend to combine the country’s duty call with his family (“Barack Obama on Principles & Values,” 2012). Additionally, he is committed to creating a universal healthcare in America, which confirms that the health of every American citizen is one of his top priorities. From the time Obama was elected as a president, confidence is one of the qualities that have been driving him along. With the 2009 inauguration, he inherited two wars, the worst economic disaster in the American history and the multi-trillion dollar debt. However, all along, he knew how to develop confidence in people and remain confident in good future for the USA.f. Obama daily attacked the economic recession and created a new plan to handle the Americas debt (“Barack Obama on Principles & Values,” 2012).
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Besides, Barack Obama possesses certain values that are a driving force in his leadership. The first of those values is Integrity, which can be defined as the act of constant sticking to your ethics or morals. In this regard, Obama holds respect towards any person, does what is the best for all citizens and does not compromise even if something can provide him with some short-term gain. It seems Obama is a person who would lose the elections but would not compromise his values. Obama holds respect towards any person (Kloppenberg, 2011). Before Obama was named a Democratic candidate for the president election in 2008, he actively supported diplomacy. In particular, he supported the re-initiation of diplomatic action with Iran. Another Obama’s feature that should be mentioned is his fairness. To exemplify, he delivered a broad-based tax relief to the middle-class families and cut taxes for small companies and businesses that create jobs in America. Obama is also driven by a need for achievement. According to his values, the first role of government is to keep its people safe. He also believes that the federal government should create opportunities for its people to succeed (“Barack Obama on Principles & Values,” 2012).
Obama’s vision revolves around equality, liberty, and unity. He resists patriarchal demands that would divide people from the sense of common humanity.He worked hard to fight injustice and promote unity. He also made considerable effort to promote a liberal country where people have the possibility to stand for anything they believe in. This is evident from his support of gay marriages and passing a bill that gives the gay people the liberty to marry (Smallwood, 2009). Moreover, such Obama’s vision led to the election of the largest number of women in the Senate in the world’s history. One more proof that the President’s ethic is driven towards absolute equality is that he forbids any racial, class and gender division. He has managed to develop a democratic state where people are not discriminated in any way and where the poor does not turn to violence but to good life opportunities. According to Smallwood (2009), Obama’s entire leadership activities have been directed towards achieving what is the best for the people while still holding onto ethics of liberty and unity. Finally, his main agendas as a president are raising the minimum wage, creating more jobs for the middle-class people, spending cuts, improving healthcare and minimizing climate change.
From the analysis above, many lessons can be deduced. Both positive and negative lessons were learned. The first positive lesson is Firstly, a cross-cultural model of leadership is essential for a president as a leader: the active applying of this mode to everyday activities may lead to an expansion of economy due to the expansion of ties between different countries and different cultures. Secondly, scrutinizing the behavior of President Obama, one can conclude that a good leader has to be willing to take public risks (Smallwood, 2009). At times, such a willingness and confidence will force one to make the risky decisions to save a country, a company or an organization. The other lesson learned is that the leaders need to establish various sources of information, and they should not rely on their chief advisors only. Such behavior will, therefore, help them acquire adequate information and make the decisions that will be beneficial to the people they lead. Moreover, leaders should learn to manage their families and their professional responsibilities.
Another lesson gained from President Obama is that a good leader should be mindful of the future. Leaders should be able to set and achieve goals that would produce long lasting results for the sake of the future generation. Furthermore, leaders sometimes need to stand for what they believe, and they should not be ready to comprise their values due to people’s opinions. Nevertheless, the analysis has also revoked some negative lessons. The first negative lesson is that not all leadership styles are beneficial, and some styles may lead to rather negative results for the country or the organization. For instance, some people believe that Obama’s cross-cultural approach and the policies towards the Middle East helped bring the Arab spring which leads to the overthrow of the five pro-American regimes. The other negative lesson is that leaders, sometimes, stand on the decisions that may lead to a lot of questions and concerns in the society about the leader’s intellectuality. For instance, Obama’s stand on ethics and liberalism that led to the support of gay marriage caused many questions and concerns in the people worldwide. People questioned Obama’s morality since he claimed to be a Christian but supported homosexuality, which is prohibited in Christianity. Therefore, all the negative aspects mentioned above show that leaders have to make clear decisions that do not conflict with what they believe.
From the above analysis of Barack Obama political figure, one can conclude that leaders should actively develop and uphold a certain range of specific traits and values if their aim is to succeed in the administration. Thus, leaders ought to be good decision makers and act as an example for others; they should always be alert in the matters that concern them and be able to make tough and risky choices at the emergence of unpredictable situations. One more conclusion that is obtained from the above analysis is that good leaders set a clear vision for the future and guide their people towards achieving it.