Barack Obama has always been a leader in a true sense. Even before becoming the 44th US President and holding 2 terms at the office, Obama was a prolific politician and was revered by the American public especially from his home state of Illinois and city of Chicago from where he was elected as Senator as well. It was getting involved and helping the community that made him a public figure and later on a politician known all across the US.
Holding perhaps the most powerful position in the world, as president of the United States of America, was no mean achievement. Although presidents do have the support from his cabinet, advisors and aides, the public face is always the president and he takes all the accolades for anything positive for the country or economy. And, of course, it is always him who face the wrath and ire from the public in case of a mishap or anything negative happening on the political or economic front.
Barack Obama boosts of qualities and habits of effective leaders that made him a statesman and a leader of the highest repute across the globe. Even countries not having friendly relations with the USA admire Mr. Obama much. That’s why I have decided to put forward 6 leadership traits of Barack Obama that makes him an excellent politician and lead a nation for 8 long years.
Conviction and Perseverance
The campaign slogan of Obama for the 2008 presidential campaign when he was elected the president for the first time was “Change we can believe in.” Change will be discussed later as a separate aspect, let’s discuss his conviction and belief and what he was conveying to the general public.
Obama always has a firm belief that if something is right and if you think you are on the right track then you can influence others too and get your message across. This will take some time but eventually you’ll succeed.
When he took a stand on many issues, like most recently on a UN resolution on Israel-Palestinian conflict, everyone believed that he has a valid point and he is not taking the American people and the world community for granted. He talked with logic and knew his job well in influencing people and other leaders so that his point of view was understandable.
Everyone started to talk about change after the Obama’s campaign became successful. It became the buzz word and was used across the board by virtually every person talking about some transformation, revolution, etc. This quality and the way Obama portrayed it almost becomes synonymous with him and whenever someone talked about change, the name of Obama also resonates.
Obama just didn’t use the word change for his campaign. Across his 8 years tenure as the president, he tried to achieve so much by applying a change in every aspect of running the country and what he was doing for the people in general. His critics may have a valid point that he didn’t deliver on all his promises but he I guess most of you will agree that he did what was in his power as the house and the senate was in Republican control during the later stages of his second term.
You may have noticed when Obama delivers a speech, he talked with the first person plural “we” rather than “I”. This is somewhat distracting at first but when you will take a closer look, this is a clever and smart way to engage the audience. The act of using we is not just pure politics as some of you might comprehend but rather a unique way of making people involved in a conversation and then making them believe they have actually contributed something positive to a cause.
When a person say we have done it together, everyone listening to it feels a part of the proceedings even if he was not involved in any step. This is a very important part of being a leader, making everyone around you involved and giving them the ownership of a successful project, for example. Countless times in his speeches, Obama used “we” in and making people believe the people of a particular city or the whole country has done something which they can be proud of.
It is a common practice that many people play it safe when it comes to anything related to their work or professional life. Taking risks, even a minor one, is not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s the reason why most successful people are the ones who take risks in their life and come out triumphant. But it’s certainly not that simple. In his book the “The Audacity of Hope” Obama mentioned he took a big gamble by running for the presidency even some friends and aides advised otherwise in the wake that he terribly lost the primaries for the 2004 presidential race.
The political risks are akin to the risks in taken in real life. So much is at stake that sometimes people put their entire wealth or whatever they have at risk, just for a business venture, for example. Obama always urged people around him and the general public about taking risks, although calculated ones in the start. The more you’ll know about Obama, the more you will be inclined to take risks in the life and benefit from this act rather than fail.
The Art of Communication
A person cannot become a leader until and unless he is a great communicator. And it isn’t limited to just being a great speaker. The listening, writing, and reading skills are also important as only a great listener can become a great speaker. Mr. Obama is a leader par excellence as he knows how to talk to any person, group or audience regardless of their background, age, race, gender, etc. And that’s where he truly deserves all the praise for being an immaculate person having perfected the art of communication.
When Barack Obama got the Marketer of the Year Award in 2008 by Advertising Age, many people were surprised and some even raised eyebrows but I knew at that time too that he thoroughly deserves that award. His entire campaign was a classic case of how to communicate with virtually each and every person in the USA who is eligible to vote, gain his confidence and send the message across in clear terms. And that’s why he was able to win the election in both 2008 and 2012 hands down.
Turning Endings into New Beginnings
A leader is a person who is never satisfied with even his own work and always look to achieve more. Take the example of Barack Obama. With a host of things to do on his list, how he turned an ending into a beginning for the next project dozens of times? That’s where his leadership skills come into effect and made all the difference. Let me give you an example so that you can understand this point easily.
Listen or watch 4-5 of his speeches and in 1-2 speeches for sure you will find the phrase “Let’s get back to work”. That’s his way of celebrating a victory in a battle or just after inaugurating a new project. He did that time and again and made sure everyone listened to it. He uses the positive public reaction and sentiment to begin a fresh project so that the buoyant mode keeps the momentum going and help in completing the new task with ease.
Barack Obama’s two terms have ended now but his legacy will go on. The 6 traits mentioned here are just a brief look at how leaders can turn around the fortune of a nation for the better and lead them. You can relate these traits to any great leader and don’t be surprised after you’ll notice something similar to what I have described here in this blog.