Marie-Hélène Budworth

Associate Professor of Human Resource Management, specializing in learning, development & motivation.

Marie-Hélène Budworth

Obama: An example of leadership and communication

September 13th, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

An American comedian recently asked, “who can beat Obama 2012?”  The punchline, “Obama 2008!”  The fact that this joke works in an interesting reflection on how things have changed for the President in the past 4 years.  
In 2008, he was an unknown figure – an up and comer, a contender.  While he was criticized for his lack of experience, that lack of experience is precisely what informed his message to the voters.  He ran on a platform of ‘change’.  He was not part of the institution that had spiralled the country into wars that they could not exit and joblessness that could not be fixed.  He was hope that a new vision could refocus the country.  In 2012, Mr. Obama has a record.  Today, he needs to spend much of his time outlining how the efforts he has made so far have helped the organization.  The Obama of today is much more focussed on the past, because the circumstances dictate that he must.  
In my opinion, a view that I believed is shared by people of many political stripes, Obama is by far one of the best orators that has ever held an office.  He understands the importance of messaging so well and has consistently been able to understand what a given audience needs to hear.  In 2008, it was all about rhetoric.  In 2012, it is all about reality.  Despite his talents, of course, there is still a struggle ahead for him.  The poles are pretty tight but we are down to the time when the speeches and the image making have the potential to separate the winners from the losers.  Obama still needs to clarify his message.  If he is going to win, he needs to tell people how what he has done connects to what he will continue to do in a direct and consumable way.  It is worth watching if only as an example of solid leadership communication.  


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