Tuesday, June 10, 2008

LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM OBAMA-PART 1

I am sure most of us are so excited to live at this time when history is being made in the world of politics. Barrack Obama, a junior senator from Illinois clinched the democratic nomination for president and now stands at the verge of becoming the first African American president of the United States and the free world. As a leader I was curious to know how he won the primary elections and what we can learn from him and his campaign as it pertains to leadership and success. Here are some lessons we can all apply to our areas of Leadership.

1. KNOW AND USE WHAT YOU HAVE
Obama is a gifted and articulate orator and he used these gifts to his advantage. His ability to inspire through words and action were key to his success. Obama did not look firstly to what was around him instead tapped into what was in him.
If you are to be a successful leader you must tap into the gifts, potential and talents that are already in you. YOU are your best asset. People will notice and gravitate to you once you announce who you are, what you have to offer and the confidence you have in your self to achieve your vision. What is in you? What gifts do you have? Use them and you will succeed as a great leader.
Obama also tapped into the life skills he had learnt and had been improving all of his adult life. He brought his community organizing skills to build what many have to call the best political organization in US history. What skills do you have? How can you use them in your organization to get the best results?

2. KNOW YOUR MESSAGE AND STICK WITH IT
For a leader, your vision must be translated to your people through a concise but powerful message. Obama achieved this by having one message-CHANGE. The message itself covered a large spectrum of issues but they all pointed to one word-CHANGE. His message was consistent and spoke to people's aspirations.
As a leader your role is to take people to a place that you alone have seen. Your message is the brush that helps paint a clear picture of your vision and solicits your followers undying support. Therefore, your vision should be easy to understand,speak to the aspirations of people, as well as paint a convincing picture of your destination.
One more thing-be consistent with your message. Consistency has to do with maintaining the content of your message as well has the number of times your message is presented. People don't like leaders who change their minds everyday-they love consistency. People also need to be frequently reminded of what you want to achieve. Share your vision as often as possible until it becomes the mantra of your organization.

3. BUILD AN "A" TEAM
Obama could not have succeeded without the help of a dedicated and talented team. The Obama campaign was filled with people with all types of backgrounds who brought their skills to the campaign and used them to be virtually unbeatable. Obama's speech writer is only 24 years old and his website was created and run by one of the co-founders of facebook. Obama managed to assemble what Napoleon Hill would call the mastermind- a team of gifted individuals. He also managed to attract people who were calm and even tempered like himself to avoid in-fighting. This was brilliance at its best.
As a leader you are responsible for creating a team that takes you to your vision. Your team should understand you, be innovative, flexible and talented. Your team should have some people that strongly share your views as well as those who strongly disagree with you and yet are willing to reach a comprise and make sound decisions. What kind of people have you surrounded yourself with? What do they have to offer? Do they share your views or disagree with you?
One thing Obama emphasized to his team in one of his first meetings was that he did not want any drama-no drama Obama they would call him. As a leader its important to communicate to your team how exactly you would want them to work with you. You are responsible for setting the ground rules failure to do so will result in divisions and misunderstandings. Such things will derail and delay your progress.

There are many more Leadership lessons we can learn but for now let's reflect on these 3 and watch out for part 2 of Leadership Lessons from Obama.

Until next time-Live to Succeed

4 comments:

Tony Eyles said...

Obama reminds me of Kennedy. He can instill confidence with inspiring soundbytes that back up and and are supported by consistent campaign platforms. People find this credible and positive - a rare thing to hold to in the current climate. And, recognising his weakness, he has installed deep experience within his team.

Great post and blog thanks.

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