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BarackObama: the individual BarackObama was born on August 4, 1961 at Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Childrenin Honolulu, Hawaii. BarackObama Sr. was a Black Immigrant from Kenya and Ann Dunham was a White American from Wichita, Kansas. His Father had a tremendous effect on his astute cultural awareness.
BarackObama: the individual Lived mostly in birth place – Honolulu and for some time in Indonesia. Had severe relations with his father. Obama completed his graduation from Columbia University, New York. After graduation he also attended Harward Law School. Popular as “Skinny kid” with a funny name.
BarackObama: The Succesful Leader His political carrier started after he finished graduation from Columbia university in New York. He worked as a community organizer in Chicago. Later the senator joined Harvard School of Law where he was chosen by famous attorney Laurence Tribe to Tribe’s research assistant. Tribe observed his personality traits and said of Obama, “ I’ve known senators, presidents. I’ve never known anyone with what seems to more raw political talent. He just seems to surest way of calmly reaching success.”
BarackObama: The Succesful Leader Obama was the first African American who was elected as the president of the Harward Law Review in 1990. He laddered to the success by winning Illinois state senate in 1996 and senate election in 2004 against prominent African American Republican Alan Keys. Obama has knack for rousing people’s attention. He proved this when he delivered speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. On 27th July he took the podium and began speaking about his idea of country without racism and fear.
BarackObama: Political overview Obama’s fame continuing to grow. “ This young man has set Illinois on fire and set America on fire. He’s the future of the Democratic party.” said Gwen Moore(Congresswoman). Former Virginia governor L. Douglas said “Obama could be president. There’s nothing to stop him.” Political Analyst and the media have compared state senator to historical figures such asAbraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Bill Clinton.
Question 1: What traits might BarackObama posses that contribute to his strong leadership ability? Does Obama’s case support a trait perpective of leadership? Why or why not?
Solution Leaders are distinguished from non-leaders by their:- Personality traits: a. Ambition b. Desire to lead c. Honesty d. Self-Confidence e. Dedication Intellectual traits: a. Sound knowledge in his own field of work. b. Skill and Expertise c. Ability to self monitor about oneself.
Solution (contd…) Physical and Social traits: a.) Stamina and energy to do his own work b.) Patience to listen to all views before expressing one’s own. But the main disadvantage :- a.) This is based on the appearance of the leadership but not on the actual way of working of the individual. b.) The traits of leadership vary from situation to situation
Solution (contd…) The most basic needs for successful leadership : 1. Trust 2. Integrity. BarackObama was a charismatic leader, who knew what to speak and when is the right time (owing to his acquaintance in law). He had a great vision (as had been seen in the campaigns.) He set high performance expectations . He conveyed a new set of values. Thus Obama was a transformational leader.
Question 2: From behavioral perspective of leadership, what does Obama do to strengthen his success as a leader?
Solution Attention Grabber. Knows how to make the best use of any oportunity given. eg : speech he spoke about his idea of a country where there is no racism and fear. A country not lead by politicians born in wealth, and then he spoke of his own background, which exemplifies diversity in many ways. Persistent eg: Did not loose hope after he lost the elections for the US congress and then won in the senate elections by a large margin.
Solution (contd…) He is self aware and most importantly has the ability to tie his own experiences into a political speech in which he portrays himself as an ordinary citizen, speaking for the general public. As a manager it might not effect whether you portray yourself as a common man or not but as a leader it is very important to relate to the common man.
Solution (contd…) According to the Ohio State Studies on Behavioral theories, basically there are two dimentions: Initiating Structure It includes the behavior that attempts to organize work,work relationships and goals. Consideration A leader high in consideration could be described as one who helps employees , is friendly, approachable and treats all employees as equal.
Question 3: Is BarackObama’s popularity and success a result of “nature”, “nurture” or both? What factors can you think of to support your answer?
Solution Behavioral theories of leadership propose that specific behaviors differentiate leaders from non-leaders. Trait theory:Leaders are born, not made. Behavioral theory:Leadership traits can be taught.
Solution (contd…) To differentiate Obama from many other political figures it is said many analysts that he “just has that something.” The circumstances and family background that he faced right from the beginning from his life. Thus the role of nurture was quite essential in the development of Obama’s Leadership qualities.
Solution (contd…) But as the trait theory depicts that leaders are born, not made is also quite correct. The hard circumstances are faced by many people in the world but very few of them have that mettle to over come that and prove themselves. So quite clearly we can conclude that Obama’s qualities and success was result of the “nature” and the “nurture” both.