It sometimes surprises me why we don’t see more articles on LinkedIn about Barack Obama. It may be that LinkedIn doesn’t want to be overly political, but with the candidacies of the next presidential candidates starting to ramp up on here, I would like to remind people what this guy has done for America and the world. There are some leadership lessons here (in my humble opinion).
As a Brit, I admit to following him from afar, and the following piece is based on my impressions of him rather than a deep understanding of the situation, so please humour me. I understand that many adjectives could be used to describe him, but I would like to focus on what I (personally) perceive to be his leadership qualities rather than any other aspects of his career or personality.
When he came to power, he inherited a country in a shambles and a world that was on the brink of tearing itself apart. He took the tough decisions to avert economic oblivion, attempted to reform a bloated healthcare system and played a major part in dismantling the biggest threat to global peace in decades. Whether you agree with his policies, or violently disagree, you cannot deny that there is an aura of calm control that surrounds him. This, for me, is the first leadership trait that I admire.
He was not afraid of the poisoned chalice. The previous incumbents of the White House had failed to create a health care solution that wasn’t prohibitively expensive, and that “average” Americans could participate in. Despite his detractors, Obama has opened up “affordable” heath care to a far wider percentage of the population, despite the inevitable detractors.
He wasn’t afraid to right the wrongs. Not everyone agreed with the Iraq War (in the U.S. and abroad) and after 4,000 deaths, he finally brought the U.S. troops home. Yes, he has launched campaigns against Al Qaeda and recently ISIS, but in his role as a global leader, he has made those tough choices.
With a global financial crisis raging around him, the bailouts and quantitative easing programmes have been seen to kick the can further along the road, but how much worse might it have been if he had not chosen the option to put his country on life-support? His compassion for the suffering that these events have caused is for me one of the standout aspects of his presidency. He and his wife Michelle seem to care about the plight of the normal folk– something that every leader should aim to emulate.
Despite constant vilification from right-wing politicians and pundits, he has focused on the issues rather than engaged in petty squabbles. He seems to have risen above the bickering (as much as is possible), and rarely got involved in personal rivalries.
Lastly, he is a devoted family man and never gives the impression that anything matters more than his wife and his daughters. His inner confidence and outer compassion have made him the most admired person in the world for seven years in a row, and I, for one, am glad to have followed his journey.
As they say in America….
Image: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque