Barack Obama is the son of a white American mother and a Kenyan father who left the family when the boy was just two years old. Later he moved back to the United States to live with his grandmother who took out a number of loans in order to finance Barack Obama's education. She died 2 days before he was elected the President of the United States.
In 2007, he entered the presidential race and contested the primaries against contenders like Hillary Clinton and his future vice president Joe Biden. In 2008, he was elected the first African-American president of the United States. Here are 10 Leadership Lessons from him :
Lesson 1 : Learning empathy One night Barack and his friends spilled a lot of beer, broke a lot of bottles, and trashed the dorm so thoroughly that a cleaning woman broke into tears. He told : "We lack the ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes; to see the world through those who are different from us -- the child who's hungry, the laid-off steelworker, the immigrant woman cleaning your dorm room.”
"The world doesn't just revolve around you, you have to learn to see things through other people's eyes.”
Lesson 2 : Challenging yourself Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. And it will leave you unfulfilled. . . . Don't let people talk you into doing the safe thing. Listen to what's inside of you and decide what it is that you care about so much that you're willing to risk it all.
"Challenge yourself. Take some risks in your life."
Lesson 3 : Persevering through adversity Making a mark on the world is hard, Obama told that it takes patience and commitment, and failure is part of the job description. But you have to keep plugging at it.
"The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't," he said. "It's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere."
Lesson 4 : Adopt A “Yes, You Can” Mindset. Consider just a few of the obstacles Obama had to overcome in order to reach the highest position in the land. With 4 years of political experience, he was deemed too light to be president. He was accused of associating with terrorists. Any of these could have been used as an excuse or reason to pursue a different career path. But they weren’t and were conquered by his “Yes you can” mindset.
Yes, we can. Yes, we can change. Yes, we can. Yes, we can heal this nation. Yes, we can seize our future!
Lesson 5 : Articulate a clear, consistent leadership vision Obama first articulated his vision back in 2004 when he was a largely unknown speaker at the Democratic national convention. His simple one-word vision was: Change. It became his platform for many initiatives representing change from the status quo and a vision of the future that he repeated consistently. This clarity and consistency of purpose galvanized followers.
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
Lesson 6 : Smarts can trump experience! In the presidential debates with McCain, Obama responded to questions about his relative political inexperience. However, he didn’t do it alone. He prepped himself tirelessly, repeatedly seeking out experienced and well-respected advisers smarter than he was on these topics … and then meshed their ideas with his own judgment and personal values to shape his own philosophy.
If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress.
Lesson 7 : You must inspire confidence in others! Barack Obama is further evidencing great leadership. Why? Because he is indicating his desire to empower people. A great leader will empower his/her people and make them feel like they are an important part of the process.
“I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington… I’m asking you to believe in yours.”
Lesson 8 : Listen!!! We must realize that communication starts with listening, and President Obama proves to be as good at listening as he is at speaking. When asked by a German reporter about his designs for the NATO in 2009, he humbly replied, "I don't come bearing grand designs, I'm here to listen, to share ideas and to jointly, as one of many NATO allies, help shape our vision for the future.“
"I came here to put forward our ideas, but I also came here to listen, and not to lecture."
Lesson 9 : Delegation brings you success President Obama also scores well in terms of being able to delegate tasks to more capable hands, and concerns himself more wit the direction setting and visioning of the nation. Delegation is a crucial skill to master in order to be effective. It allows us to focus on what we are paid to do, that is to LEAD and MANAGE our team, rather than to micromanage and be take on the jobs of our whole team.
Lesson 10 : Willingness to make tough decisions Despite preaching cooperation and mutual agreement, President Obama is aware that gaining a majority of consensus is not possible and economic, and tough calls may have to be made at times. Right or wrong, it is more important to make a decision and take action, rather than to delay and shriek the responsibility to successors.
My task over the last two years hasn't just been to stop the bleeding. My task has also been to try to figure out how do we address some of the structural problems in the economy that have prevented more Googles from being created.
President Obama's leadership style is certainly a fresh beginning for further realignment of the United States in terms of political, economic and social aspects. For aspiring leaders, his leadership qualities can be likened to valuable gems that we can model from, adapt, and use as our own, allowing us to take ourselves to greater heights.
“In the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it.” Thank You Very Much SompongYusoontorn