Is President Obama a Leader?

Isn’t that an interesting title? With a title like that if I write this post just right I should be able to make pretty much everyone who reads it mad. Even if that’s not my intention.

On the surface the title is a ridiculous question. Though it’s much debated in the media there can be no doubt about it; President Obama is a leader. For my conservative friends let me repeat; President Obama is a leader. 

I don’t think I’ve ever done a leadership presentation where I haven’t early on stated that the essence of leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. The Presidency of The United States is a position of influence. If by nothing but position alone President Obama is a leader. He has perhaps more influence than any other living individual in the world. Therefore, he is a leader. 

Now, before my conservative friends go completely off the deep end let me ask a more relevant question. Does President Obama Lead? 

Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t. At critical times during his presidency he has been present but his leadership has not. It’s just kind of disappeared. 

Now that I have my liberal friends upset too let me get to the point of this post. It is not about President Obama. It is about you!

Many people reading this post consider themselves to be a leader. They have titles and hold positions in companies and organizations which provide them with a great deal of influence. That, just like President Obama makes them a leader. But it doesn’t mean they truly lead. It doesn’t mean they are an Authentic Leader.

Sometimes, when a leader is most needed their leadership disappears. That happens to a lot of leaders, not just Presidents. 

Does it happen to you? Do you make the all too common mistake of thinking your title or position will lead for you? Do you believe your influence will persuade and motivate people all by itself?

Leadership is not complicated but it also isn’t passive. Leadership is an activity, it must be done to be effective. Leadership is bold, it makes waves, it confronts, it takes risks. Leadership must be visible at all times. It doesn’t always have to be out front but whether it’s elbowing it’s way around the middle of the pack, pushing from the rear, or pulling from the front, it’s presence must be seen, felt, and heard. Always.

Leadership doesn’t just happen, a leader, at least an authentic leader, makes it happen. 

Before you criticize President Obama or any other leader ask yourself what you did last week to DEMONSTRATE your leadership. What ACTIONS will you take this week to DEMONSTRATE that you’re not a leader is name only? 

Allowing your title or position to speak on behalf of your leadership is a lazy way to lead. SHOW you’re a leader through you actions and people will follow. 

After all, everybody knows that actions speak louder than words.

What President Obama Taught Me

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Ok, I’ll admit right up front the title is deceiving. The President didn’t really teach me anything this week but I sure did learn a lot from writing a post about him.

The post was meant to be fun. It was just poking fun at some of his positions and they aren’t even really his positions because in the interest of fun, I may have embellished them just a bit.

I could and might, write the same kind of post about Mitt but that might be like kicking a guy when he’s down. It wasn’t a serious political statement but many people, many many people, sure took it that way.

So what did I learn?

I learned I should stay out of politics. I don’t think I have the backbone for it. There are way too many people that are way too passionate about it. Not only passionate but unreasonably passionate. On both sides of the aisle.

I learned that many people who would have agreed with the post jumped to conclusions. They clearly didn’t read past the first paragraph or the title before they began to rip me on Twitter and unfollow me. These are the people that don’t want the facts to interfere with their opinion.

I learned that some people are just, if you’ll pardon the expression, whack jobs. I had several people DM me to tell me they would unfollow me immediately for “blasphemy” and that God would see me burn in hell for talking against his holy son, Obama. I can only hope these people aren’t U.S. citizens with the right to vote.

Speaking of voting, a few also said I should be banned from voting for disagreeing with the President. I guess if we did it that way all the political commercials could finally stop. Again, I can only hope those folks aren’t U.S. citizens, if there are they should immediately study the constitution to learn how silly they really sound.

But here’s the best thing I learned. The United States, and the world for that matter, is full of reasonable people who can differ with someone’s opinion and not hate them for it. I received many tweets from people saying they didn’t agree with the post, didn’t like “the tone” of the post or just thought I was plain wrong but they also said they respect my right to say it.

That’s what the United States is really all about, smart, reasonable people can disagree and still get along. No matter who wins the election in November there will be no riots, no strikes and no violence.

Despite the over zealous people on the left and on the right, the majority, the vast, vast majority of people are well balanced, well meaning people.

That should give all of us, the world over, all the hope we need to persevere.