President Obama Lays the Vision

As if unrolling a tapestry, last week President Obama laid out a remake of Teddy Roosevelt’s New Nationalism speech from 1910. Some call the President’s speech a populist appeal. I don’t care so much if it is or isn’t, but I do care to find out if we can sift through the speech to glean a few leadership tidbits.

In the speech we see clear signs of charismatic leadership. President Obama lays out the vision—fair rules, superior education, and a strong middle class developing and manufacturing innovative products for global consumption. He states, “We should be known for creating and selling products all around the world that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.”

Secondly, he works to build a bond with his supporters. He does this by reiterating the pain they’ve felt through declining fortunes and echoing their hope for a better future. The speech is a rallying cry to pull together. Will members of each side of the political divide listen and pay heed? I doubt it.

I frequently tell people that we, as humans respond to pain. The current pain is not great enough for the politicians. When it does become significant, when a catastrophic event takes place then they will pull together.

In the meantime, whether you’re conservative or liberal, listen to the President’s speech or read a transcript. Look for his vision and how he builds a bond. I think you’ll find a few nuggets in there.


• Charismatic leadership characteristic #1: lay out a compelling vision
• Charismatic leadership characteristic #2: build a bond with your followers
• Humans respond to pain

Keywords: charismatic leadership

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