Analysis of the Leadership Style of President Obama

Topics: Leadership, Barack Obama, Democratic Party Pages: 9 (3428 words) Published: May 3, 2012
Executive Summary
President Barack Obama seems to be a transformational leader who wants to achieve a deep change and mobilises therefore a lot of followers. In his election campaign he had three principles: Respect! Empower! Include! He said “It’s not about me, it’s about you!”. The people felt attracted to Obama and were sure that he will be the perfect President. He received so many donations for his campaign like no president before in the history of the United Stated. He benefited from the big advantage that the people were very dissatisfied with George W. Bush and that they wanted a political change. On the one hand he used social networks and he got in with the young people. On the other hand he managed that everyone felt as a part of the system and hence an incredible enthusiasm was created. The people began to commit with Obama and started to work for him in his so-called Workforce during his election campaign. He did it in the right way while giving them the opportunity to do what they could do best. Slogans like “Yes, we can!” and “Change, we can believe in!” underpinned his intention of a radical change, the healing of the sorrows of the Americans and the promise for a better life. But in his time in office turned out that he has still to improve some of his attributes to be a transformational leader. He made some mistakes e.g. in the health insurance reform because he was not so personal like everyone expected. President Obama is not yet a transformational leader like John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King but in various situations he proved that he has a lot of characteristics of this kind of leader.


The election campaign of Barack Obama from November 2007 to November 2008 was not a normal campaign - it was different. He stated in inaugural speech 2008 that a “new dawn of American leadership is at hand” (Abcnews 2008). The big question is what was different to other campaigns. Was he really a new kind of leader or only another politician? What kind of leadership style did he use and is he still using? This analysis will show which leadership style Barack Obama used in his election campaign from autumn 2007 to November 2008 and how he approached his goals, roles and key tasks. Furthermore it will show if the start of the “new American leadership” really happened and whether he set a focus on team leadership as well. The analysis is underpinned with the theory of transformational leadership. In the first part of the analysis there will be a detailed definition of the transformational leadership theory. After that there will be an extensive explanation of all the different styles of a transformational leader and afterwards a short definition of the charismatic style of leadership. These theories were selected as they are mentioned numerously in the literature, in the news or in the internet if searching for the leadership style of President Barack Obama. Consequently they will be the base for this survey and will help to expose what kind of leader Obama really is. In the second part of the analysis the theories will be applied to the practice. It will be examined how Obama met the theories and what type of transformational leader he is. Furthermore it will be analysed in detail how he lead his election campaign. At the end of this paper there will be a conclusion with a short summary of the results and some comments on how Barack Obama could improve his leadership style. 2.Analysis

A transformational leader recognizes a required deep change and accomplishes a vision to control this change. In normal cases he leads with inspiration and realise the changes with the support of other people who are convinced of the change (Marshall 2011). He has a vision of a better society and his beliefs are based on so-called end-values like freedom, equality and fairness. As a result the leader has to be very active to reach his aims and motives. He identifies the needs of potential followers and goes...
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