Thursday, October 9, 2008

Candidate's leadership

As I mentioned, I have just been trough a training on Situational Leadership - a model that presumes that different leadership styles are better in different situations, and that leaders must be flexible enough to adapt their style to the situation they are in.

Quite interestingly the main story of USA Today this morning is about The Candidate's Leadership Styles, titled

Different styles, same goal
How the candidates made it work

I can not vote, and I do not want to start any political debate here, so please think of the articles as they are - an analysis of both candidates leadership styles.

Different styles, same goal: How the candidates made it work
Jill Lawrence, USA TODAY, October 9, 2008

They're both senators, but that's pretty much where the similarities end.

From their first jobs to the financial crisis, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain have revealed themselves as polar opposites, forged by their personalities and biographies into potential presidents with vastly different leadership and management styles.

One came up through the military, the other through community work and law school. One is impulsive and emotional, the other cool and analytical. Both have worked with diverse people and both get results, says Princeton scholar Fred Greenstein, author of The Presidential Difference, but the methods reflect the men. "McCain breaks a lot of china along the way," Greenstein says. "With Obama, it seems like nothing's happening, but somehow everything seems to work."


[As a community organizer on Chicago's South Side, Obama] helped people find common goals and pursue them together — tools he's applied to every undertaking since, from heading the Harvard Law Review, to serving as an Illinois state senator and U.S. senator, to a presidential campaign that raised unprecedented amounts of money and toppled the Clinton dynasty, to nudging Congress behind the scenes to act on the Wall Street meltdown.


McCain pioneered his upset-the-apple-cart style 32 years ago as commander of a Navy squadron, ousting older, senior people and ending business as usual.

The risks and rewards of McCain's approach were clear when he put himself center stage this fall in Capitol Hill negotiations on the government's $700 billion bailout for Wall Street. The dramatic move grabbed attention — but so did his failure to broker a deal.


Read the full article.

See also two more detailed looks at the jobs and personality traits that have shaped the nominees as leaders, managers and future president.

McCain: 'Bare-knuckled fighter' won't take no for answer

Obama: Keeping cool, focusing on 'common purpose'

Some questions to link this to Situational Leadership

How good are they on analyzing the needs of the situation?

How flexible are they to adopt the most appropriate leadership style on the situation?

What is their match with the follower needs in the situation?

What do the followers think of the match (and how do they vote)?

And later, how will the new president apply these skills with the Government organization, the American people, and with the "World political organization"?

Photo by Shiny Things


referee said...

I like your question about how flexible they both might be with different leadership styles. I feel that while most people are uncomfortable changing a dominate style, McCain's age and rough approach might be more difficult to change than Obama's analyze the problem and create the best group approach to solving it.