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09 November 2012

On Leadership: Good Character, Self-Awareness, and Authenticity

This week, Barack Obama was re-elected President of the United States.

During the President's first term, the recent campaign, and the days since his re-election many people have commented about his leadership skills.  Some comments have been praiseworthy while others have been critical. 

To me the qualities central to leadership are good character (and the values underlying it), self-awareness, and their companion, authenticity.

The morning after his re-election, President Obama visited his Chicago field office to thank the young adults on the staff for their hard work over the course of a grueling campaign. His remarks were brief, contemporaneous, unpolished.... and moving.  Why? Because they were from his heart and soul. They grew out of his good character (and the values underlying it), his self-awareness, and his authenticity.

In this sense, I believe that President Obama is unique among leaders of similar station. Those of us who aspire to leadership and those of us who study it can learn much from him...