Barack Obama’s Leadership Style

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Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States, having taken office in 2009 after winning the electoral campaign against John McCain. He is also the first African American to have taken the office of the President in the US.

Barack Obama’s Leadership Style: The Top 3 Leadership Qualities of the First African American President of the United States

1. “Yes, We can.” Mindset

Everyone who has heard of the US elections would have come across this phrase coined by Obama, ‘Yes we can!’. It inspired a whole nation because of the context of the US economy at that time; unemployment was high and it was the aftermath of the Lehman Crisis of 2008.

This signifies a can-do attitude about Obama, inspiring his followers to believe that all things are possible despite the challenges. As a leader, we need to show this can-do attitude too; to believe that it is possible first before our followers believe; to see the victory before anyone else sees it.

2. Be inclusive

Obama was extremely inclusive in his campaign and people from all backgrounds came out to endorse him ranging from celebrities like Snoop Dogg to Warren Buffet. He sought to ensure that all bases were covered.

If you want your followers to take ownership of corporate decisions, you have to include them in the decision making process. People who are isolated from that soon become withdrawn and disinterested, feeling that they can do little to influence outcomes.

Consider how you can include more people in your decision making and find ways to get their input; they might just surprise you.

3. Be clear about the vision

Although John McCain probably had great policies for reform, but it was Obama that managed to explain the vision in a very simple manner. He constantly used the word ‘change’ in his speech. This word embodied the spirit of his words and it came out through his conviction in his speeches.

You need to speak to the heart to capture people; speaking to the mind gets them to intellectually agree with you, but it will not necessarily get them to follow you. This is an important skill as a leader.

Who is Barak Obama? A Short Biography

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. He has of multiracial descent, with his mother from Germany and Ireland, and his father from Kenya.

At 3 years of age, Obama’s parents divorced, and his mother remarried an Indonesian student. Three years later, his family had to relocate to Jakarta because of the Indonesian government recalled all overseas Indonesians.

He returned to Honolulu in 1971 to stay with his maternal grandparents. From there he completed his education at Columbia University and worked for a year.

He was active helping the Illinois community with his active participation in volunteer work and his first entry into politics was in 1996, where he was elected into the Illinois Senate. In 2004, he ran for the US. Senate and won resoundingly with 70% of the votes and in 2005, he was sworn in as a senator on January 4, 2005, becoming the only Senate member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

On February 10, 2007, Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States. He first defeated Hillary Clinton to represent the Democratic Party, who later on endorsed him and supported his campaign against John McCain of the Republicans.

On November 4, 2008, he became the first African American to be elected president and delivered his victory speech before hundreds of thousands of people. He served as the 44th President of the United States from 2009 to 2017.

Barack Obama Leadership Video

A biography of Barack Obama that played at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, prior to Barack’s acceptance speech.

Further Reading

Wikipedia: A short account of Barack Obama’s life

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

The Audacity of Hope

The President’s Devotional: The Daily Readings That Inspired President Obama

Barak Obama Leadership Quotes

Political Leader Profiles

For more leadership profiles of other famous Political leaders including George Washington, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King Jr, check out our Political Leadership Profiles section.

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