Being visionary is not enough

As President Obama is finding out – selling a vision and being good at speech making is one thing; getting people to deliver and keep on supporting you is an entirely different matter.

His ratings are low in his second year in post – his popularity has crossed the watershed – more people dislike him than like him now. And this despite delivering on the health care package and pulling troops out of Iraq as he promised. It seems to be all about the economy now.

I always thought Obama had a rather enigmatic style of leadership and got funny looks when I said I wasn’t really convinced about him. Too much coaching in using tricks of rhetoric I thought. And how had he progressed through the murky world of Chicago politics and yet come out so clean? Perhaps he was something special after all.

According to research by the HAY Group; “ the visionary leader inspires and is able to explain how and why people’s efforts contribute to the ‘dream’. Through empathy and clarity they are able to move people towards shared dreams“.

This only works however when the leader is seen as an expert and as competent, develops people and provides balanced feedback  – otherwise his words will be seen as just words with no reasoning or explanation to back them up.

So has Obama lost credibility over the BP spillage, the planned mosque near ground zero, or criticisms from military commanders?. What happened to the concept of “Soft Power” which was the subject of many articles after his election?

He clearly has self-control but has been accused of lacking passion so just how self-aware is he really? They say things are bad when wives are brought into the spotlight. Think Sarah Brown supporting Gordon (“zero emotional intelligence”) Brown. And apparently Michelle Obama is  taking off her gardening gloves to join her husband’s fight to regain popularity.


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