Skip to main content

President Barack Obama: The Best and Worst of his Leadership Style

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

I admit that I believe in honoring the office of the presidency and I am also a bit enamored by the cult of the personality. As such, I have a tendency to give the sitting president (whether he is of my political persuasion or not) the benefit of the doubt until all evidence points otherwise. I suppose I am a bit naïve in this respect, but I want to believe that the man sitting in the Oval Office has a desire to do what is best for the country. Whether he actually knows what is best for the country is another matter entirely, but I believe in honoring the president even if I am less than confident in his positions and policies.

This same sentiment applies to current American President Barack Obama. As such, I have written a number of articles concerning the leadership style of Mr.Obama that seem to be contradictory. In one article I praise him and his leadership style, in the next I seem to question his abilities. Like many others who marveled over him as the first president of his kind (including news media moguls like Arianna Huffington and other liberal pundits), I have mixed feelings about how the new american president has performed in his first year as leader of the free world.

Accordingly, this hub covers what I believe to be the best and the worst qualities of American President Barack Obama's leadership style.

American President Barack Obama is Well-Suited for a 21st Century Constituency

The first admirable quality of President Barack Obama's leadership style is that he is well-suited for a 21st century audience. He is technology savvy and comes across well on camera. While his overall approval rating his dropped below 50%, President Obama carries his highest approval rating amongst Americans between the ages 18-29 at 56% and nearly 54% for those between 18-49. This means he comes across well to those who are the most apt to use 21st century technologies.

President Obama is Enthusiastic and Industrious

The second admirable quality of President Barack Obama's leadership style is that he shows enthusiasm and industriousness. In essence, this means he has not shied away from attempting to solve problems. He has worked hard in his attempt to make America better and he has done so with a zealous vigor. No doubt he has run up against some brick walls which have kept him from succeeding to his satisfaction and others, but his failure has not been for a lack of effort.

President Obama Demonstrates Confidence and Faith

The third admirable quality of Barack Obama's leadership style is that he projects confidence in the face of bold opposition and maintains an unyielding faith that he will accomplish what he set out to do. The new American president has had a rollercoaster ride on one of the ricketiest old tracks, but he has remained steadfast in his desire to do what he thinks the American people have elected him to do. There is a class or two of people who need better alternatives to healthcare. America's image abroad is badly in need of repair. And, although he hasn't found a way to turn it around, the ways of Old Mr. Potter and the American financial system need an overhaul.

President Obama's Spirit of Humility and Reconciliation

A fourth admirable quality of Barack Obama's leadership style is his spirit of humility and reconciliation in foreign affiars. President Obama has been criticized for bowing to various kings and emperors around the world thinking that it is a sign of weakness. On the contrary, to humble one's self and honor another is a sign of strength and courage. Besides sometimes you have to step back before you can move forward. If we show respect to their leaders, the people of those countries will want to do business with Americans. If we disrespect them, America will become irrelevant like other top civilizations in the past.

President Obama's Bark has been Worse than His Bite

One of the worst qualities of Obama's leadership style is that his bark has been worse than his bite. The new president has been frantic with activity but little of it has had a lasting impact. No doubt the depth and breadth of America's problems were and are enormous and could and cannot be solved overnight. Still, he seemd to lack the leadership qualities necessary to gain influence amongst his so called allies in Congress; let alone those on the Republican side of the aisle.

President Obama Spends Too Much Time on Television

It is said that what you like about a person can also be what you hate about that person. Obama is good looking and eloquent and camera worthy, but that does not mean he has to be on television all the time. After about three months, I stopped viewing the president's press conferences because it was just more of the same tireless rhetoric. I came to the place where I wanted more action and less talk. There is no need to sell me; just get it done. In fact, any good salesmen knows that the one who speaks first loses. You make your sells pitch once, answer any gnawing objections, make the close and shut up. If you bid on a job and the job is won, you don't keep on bidding. You shut up and get to work and let the finished product tell the rest of the story. So far the story is in search of a better ending which leaves us to wonder if the author and builder have the stuff to complete the job in good order. You may be shaking your head at all the mixed metaphors, but the question of the day is: does President Obama have the right leadership style to move America in a positive direction? He cannot do it by standing in front of a TV camera every day or even once a week.

General Lack of Foreign Policy Experience

Another weakness in President Barack Obama's presidential leadership proved to be a lack of long-term experience dealing with foreign policy issues. In the fifth year of his presidency, Mr. Obama's lack of foreign policy experience caught up to him as heads of state from nearly every region of the globe developed animosity towards the US foreign policy decisions. The US was at odds with its European allies for spying by the USA's National Security Administration; with its Middle East allies due to its failure to honor old agreements (as in the case of Egypt) and protect friends of friends (as in the case of Saudi Arabia and their Sunni Muslim compatriots over against Shiite Muslim aggression in Syria and Iran).


Kevin on December 11, 2018:

This is for Mike, you must have mistaken Obama for Trump? Second, I'd say to you is if you can do better, please by all means step up don't play the blame game.

deb hanes on October 07, 2016:


DebHanes on January 10, 2016:

I like your persona honesty and I love your writing style.. but I disagree with you on all points. I think Obama is a fake who was elected because of his color. He has done nothing good for this country and much bad. The worst of witch is dividing the races as never before... he is a big failure!

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on October 21, 2010:

Errol - those are all astute observations of what a low approval rating may or may not mean. It could also mean that the sample was so low that it could not possibily be representative of all the people. Still, from polls I've taken on another hub, people are mostly dissatisfied with the economy and the job problem.

Scroll to Continue

Errol Smythe on October 21, 2010:

Approval ratings can be interpreted to say whatever one wants them to say.

In a lighter vein any person on the street may say one of the following :

(i) A low approval rating may mean that there are some people that may have been selectively chosen instead of randomly chosen from a certain certain target group of people to provide a predetermined result to legitimize a certain view or a certain argument that so and so is not doing a certain certain job properly ; or

(ii) A low approval rating may mean that there are certain people that are always happy to "..pop off..." and criticize people in office and if they are allegedly getting paid for "....popping off...." then they will always be in the queue to make loud ".....popping noises..." to express their disapproval of certain certain people in office ; or

(iii) A low approval rating may mean that the polls show that some people and not all people just don't like the certain certain person in high office because he made it and they did not ; or

(iv) A low approval rating may mean that the polls show that some people and not all people just want to make a statement of disapproval ; or

(v) the poll is legitimate and there are a broad cross section of people across the country that are genuinely dissatisfied with the way things are going and are sick and tired of being lied to and tired of so called prominent people back tracking on political promises that are long overdue ; and

(vi ) A low approval rating may just mean that the people that were polled just had a bad day and needed someone to blame and vented their anger by giving a low approval rating of the certain certain person in office.

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on August 07, 2010:

Leadership Quality, you make an excellent point. Those who want to lead must be willing to take risks and make sacrifices in order to make a real difference for their organizations and their constituents. Thank you for sharing.

Leadership Quality on August 07, 2010:

Most of all, politicians want to lead, is in charge of, may be responsible for, to make things happen. The risks and sacrifices that they are required to make a real difference in the world are willing to bear. How you can immediately apply the law?

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on May 05, 2010:

commisioner, very interesting insight. thank you for sharing it. i believe you are right. i believe you can handle it.

commisioner on May 05, 2010:

just a quick comment about the pres having a high approval by the younger crowd. maybe not everywhere but in all places i've lived, the younger crowd has an entitlement mentality. they like it when they get a handout while they feel like they are losing their fight against poverty. they are lax when it comes to success and reckless at reaching for it. if they fail, they just know the government will help them. they don't fear failure. there is always a check at the end of the tunnel. we are far from successful and at the bottom of the payscale. but we sent back every tax stimulus check ever sent to us. we will not take handouts. if we are falling behnd, we ask our friends for help. and in turn we offer help to our friends when they need it. we don't need the government to guide us, we know the cost of success and the pain of failure. we can handle it.

Mike on May 04, 2010:

I think Obama is a fraud, and possibly the worst President in modern American history.

Related Articles