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Barack Obama’s Leadership Qualities


This topic describes the leadership qualities of a person. It helps to understand the issues in leadership qualities, values and personalities. It investigates the power, influence, values and behaviour of a leader. And it tells about how a leader is different from others and how he influences his followers and sometimes changes the history itself. These issues are compiled with an illustration of Barack Obama, the new President of America.

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Obama became the president only some months back. It seems to be he holds a baggage of expectation of not only America, but of the whole world. He had exhibited that much of enthusiasm and self confidence in the election campaign itself. But some centers had doubted whether Obama can carry on these expectations and whether he is able to make the dream into a reality.

Every American president will become Republican President or Democratic President. That is he will follow the policy of the Republican Party or Democratic Party beyond his individual opinion. It was also evident in the Israel policy. To be a real leader he have to look beyond the party in which he belongs to. Then he can ensure a position in the history of America. Otherwise he will be just as like that.


Barack Obama gained attention in the early days of the election itself. The reason was that he was going to become the President of America, one of the biggest democracies in the world. His roots – he is an African American – was another thing noticed by the world. He is very young and energetic, that was another attraction of Barack Obama. But when the campaign started people started to understand that there is something beyond Obama. And they found a new leadership style in Obama. This article describes the leadership qualities of Barack Obama that helped him to achieve a distinguished position in the world.

Leadership qualities of Barack Obama

“I AM ASKING YOU TO BELIEVE. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington…..I’ m asking you to believe in yours- Tomorrow, you can choose policies that invest in our middle class, create new jobs, and grow this economy so that everyone has a chance to succeed. You can choose hope over fear, unity over division, the promise of change over the power of the status quo. If you give me your vote, we won’t just win this election — together, we will change this country and change the world.” (Obama 2008). The sentence tells everything about Obama and his leadership style. He doesn’t tell me to follow him. Rather he tells us to lead ourselves. Through the “Yes We Can” campaign, it served as Obama’s challenge towards a nation and people for getting alert. He tells the winner of the election is not me, but it is we. This is a major shift from the leadership style of 20th century. The ‘command and control’ style of leadership is gone, while “bottom up empowering” style is getting advantage. (George 2009).

Obama became the President of US in a difficult situation. It starts from the deep dissatisfaction towards President George Bush, his policies in Iraq and Israel which is criticized by the whole world, the biggest financial crisis, etc. All these are making his job tougher. The leadership in a difficult situation is a challenging and demanding job. How to create faith and belief in the followers is the difficult question before the leaders in this juncture. Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi succeeded to lead their homelands in a troubled situation because they succeeded to unify all the cast and creed under one ideology or faith. Obama is an African – American and people considered him only as a representative of the community and as a man to fulfil the dream of the whole African American Community i.e. first African American President of US. More than that, he was also considered as a representative of youth. But Obama had broken all those preconceived notions. He said he is representing the whole of America, who are really desiring for change. The concept “Change” was a successfully implemented strategy. “Change –we can believe in” was a big sentence in his campaign. “The word ‘change’ was everywhere in his campaign, so much that the entire world knew what Obama stood for. I asked a group of 300 people in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia what was the one word they thought of when I say Barack Obama and all in the room said “CHANGE”.” (Young 2008). In the election campaign a poster of Barack Obama which imprinted three words – Hope, Change and Progress got widespread attention. Those three words really inspired America also. (Ben 2008). The change came in his campaigning also. He transformed the fund raising pattern, the team management, handling opposite candidates etc. in a unique way.

Visionary Leadership style of Obama

In the initial phase of election for becoming a presidential candidate he fought a tough battle with Senator Hillary Clinton who is also on the edge of another dream- the first woman President of America. Leadership gurus find that Hillary emphasized on the managerial approach while Obama is on the transformational approach. Managerial approach means control, direct and leads the system and thereby ensures that the policies are carried out efficiently and effectively. But Obama had a team and he had faith in that team. He delegated his authority and responsibility to his team. He was focusing on visionary leadership i.e., providing leadership with a vision and through the vision he was helping the people to achieve a common goal.

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“It has almost always been the result of leaders who offer inspiring visions and values, identify clear goals, and then provide the context and opportunity for those below them to participate in the design and implementation of the actual business of change. That’s why, in general, leaders of large corporations have moved away from top-down “planned change,” and, instead, adopted a values-based, decentralized approach to organizational transformation.” (Obama vs Clinton leadership styles: micromanagement misfires 2008). In the campaign, the Hillary group said Obama was lacking experience. Hillary had long years of experience in public administration and she also holds the designation as the first lady. But there was evidence that she was a failure in some of the projects because she was experimenting with textbook solutions for real issues. Hillary never said she had gained knowledge through her experience. She was telling how she will implement her strategies in all issues. Obama, on the contrary, said that the election winning is not only his own concern, but it is matter of the whole nation which includes all kind of people – youth, old people, women, white, African American, Hispanic, workers, executives etc. He is transforming his dreams to our dreams.


Obama’s leadership qualities as a president is yet to be analyzed since he has just started his work. But his leadership style has been noticed by the leadership experts and they have started to study the leadership style of Obama since it was noticed not only by America but the whole world. And the world is expecting more from him.


Ben, Arnon 2008, How the Obama “hope poster reached a tipping point and became a cultural phenomenon, The Huffington Post, Web.

George, Bill 2009, Obama: a leader for the ‘we’ generation, MSNBC, Web.

Obama vs Clinton leadership styles: micromanagement misfires 2008, Business Week, Web.

Obama, Barack 2008, The change we need, The Wall Street Journal, Web.

Young, Jared 2008, Ten marketing lessons from the Barack Obama presidential campaign, Web Ink Now, Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 19). Barack Obama’s Leadership Qualities.

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"Barack Obama’s Leadership Qualities." StudyCorgi, 19 Nov. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Barack Obama’s Leadership Qualities." November 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Barack Obama’s Leadership Qualities." November 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Barack Obama’s Leadership Qualities." November 19, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Barack Obama’s Leadership Qualities'. 19 November.

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