U.S. News Got it Wrong

Leadership does not have a political stripe, not is its success restricted or dictated by gender. But in the recent, annual publication of “America’s Best Leaders,” U.S. News & World Report has gotten it wrong. I’m going to use this publication for several forthcoming posts, because I find the U.S. News piece interesting, to say the least. In the first article in this issue, reporter Ken Walsh does a sit-down interview with Presiden Obama and the topic of discussion is crisis leadership.

The entire problem with Walsh’s article is that he relies upon opinions from David Axelrod, who’s a senior adviser and a long-time Obama friend, as well as the interview with the President himself. What’s wrong with this approach? It’s pretty simple, but of course Axelrod and Obama are going to speak glowingly about the President’s leadership qualities. They need to. They have to. But what I would’ve preferred Walsh do in this article would be to remove himself from the Oval Office when writing this story because it’s certainly tainted his piece.

If he would’ve written this story from an objective distance, he would see what many Americans now know, and many are coming to see. President Obama lacks the basic fundamentals for presidential leadership. Which goes back to a thought I had in a previous post. Mainly, that Americans have forgotten what good leaders are made of.

The three fundamental areas where the President has failed from a leadership standpoint are: trust, accountability, and authenticity. There are other leadership shortcomings in our President, but these three strike me as the most essential. Because if you don’t begin with these three, you can’t progress to higher level, despite glowing commentary from Axelrod or well-thought out rhetoric by President Obama.

The President has demonstrated that he can’t be trusted because he’s violated a number of his campaign promises. Have presidents past gone against things they’ve promised in their campaign? Absolutely. You can’t tell the people you’re going to do one thing and then either do another, or completely ignore what it was you told the people you were going to do. Second, this administration has a penchant for blaming other people for their shortcomings. I wrote about the blame game in a recent post as well, and I don’t want to rehash that entire piece. But if you can’t accept accountability for the outcomes of your actions, you can’t be an effective leader. Finally, President Obabma, like almost every politician in the world, fails the authenticity test. In other words, his persona changes based on the environment he is in. He’s a fake, and most people, regardless of intelligence or any other factor, can detect a phony from a mile away.

We’ll look at this U.S. News stuff some more.

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