Leadership Tips from Barrack Obama

I’ve never been one to follow politics closely. Not because it isn’t interesting but rather that the players over the past little while have not been that interesting. I’ve been quite inspired by Obama in the few times I’ve watched him speak. I like that his speeches are simple and quite articulate. He gets the point across while making it simple for the everyday person to understand; I like that he keeps his stories relevant and to the point. There were a couple of highlights for me in particular. The first was to brush aside the finger pointing with the AIG mess and to take responsibility. “While it’s not a mess that I created, it’s my job to fix it.” The buck stops here. I like that throughout the conversation he never once diverted from that message – he didn’t try to subtlely blame the Republican for the current decisions, he focused on the fact that it was up to him to make sure that these things don’t happen. Here’s another tip – regardless of whose fault it is, he focused on trying to figure out the solution to the problem and ensuring that the problem doesn’t happen again.

Another thing that really impressed me about Obama was the ability to focus on the future. “If we’re being out-educated today, we’ll be out-innovated tomorrow” or some variant of that. It’s so true. So often leaders focus on the immediate only and neglect the future. At the same time, he understands the concessions he has to make to get to the future. “It’s not like I like paying out the banks but we need credit flowing now.”  The trick is not to stop on the short term fix. So often it’s so tempting to just focus on the short term fix because it can be so tiring to just get the short term fix done.

Another sign that impressed me about Obama is that he actively listens. In the final question, he was speaking to a man who lost his job in October. He talked briefly about his overall economic plan and quickly realized that he didn’t know enough. He followed up by asking specifically what the man used to do and then tailor his answers specifically to his situation. It would have been easier to left it generic.

I like Obama. It’s nice to be inspired by an individual. He has great ideas and great attitude. It’ll be interesting to see if he has the right people to help him execute it.