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The Power of a Leader

May 11, 2009

Can one person change the world?  Hilter certainly tried and thankfully failed, Stalin did his best and Obama certainly seems to be changing ‘our world’ if not all of the world.

2 lessons in leadership from Obama

Two lessons in leadership from Obama

Since September most media have been feeding us bad news stories, particularly regarding the economy.  In the midst of this, the election of the first black US President led to some optimistic reporting and has continued to do so.  Every time Obama stands in front of the cameras he seems to bring hope, not just to his nation but to the whole of the developed world.
 
He seems to understand that when he says swine flu cases are diminishing and the economy is stabilising the world believes him, confidence grows and with confidence can come recovery.
 
Much has been said about his ‘presence’ but a recent article in Ode Magazine identified two behaviours that any of us could employ to renew confidence in our teams, families and friends.
 
1. Don’t ignore problems, but don’t over emphasize their impact. Since before his inaugural speech, Obama has been saying we have problems, but we can over come them. The fear of a problem or a crisis is a much bigger barrier to success than the obstacle itself. In the words of FDR, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Or if you’re a Frank Herbert fan, “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death.” Fear, not crisis, is what sets people up for failure because it stops them in their tracks.

2. Focus your efforts on positive change and keep an eye out for new possibilities. Once you realize that you will survive whatever crises seem to be circling, you are free to find ways to “convert retreat into advance.” As president, Obama has used technology in new ways to create transparency. This gives his presidency a very different tenor and allows quicker feedback than if he had approached the presidency without innovation. His willingness to reach out to Americans via web cast forums, twitter and other media helps Americans understand the plan for economic recovery and gives them the confidence that we’re seeing in the polls – and in the housing markets as well, now.

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