Authentic Communications: Obama Leadership Effect

When we reflect on and look at the way we communicate and speak we are talking about leadership.  Leaders lead with their ideas, insights, words, presence and action. The way people speak and deliver words of praise or criticism reveals their values, beliefs and philosophy of life. It can make or break leaders because without trust there will be no followers“Obama or leadership effect” hypothesizes that leaders will be measured and judged by their empathy, confidence, clarity, authenticity, and the impact of their communications and behavior, not intentions. Leadership is all about connecting, inspiring, and influencing others to come together and take united action.

Like it or not, our self awareness, mental presence, and confidence (mental state); elocution or mechanics (voice, gestures, movement, body language, and eye contact); and messages (verbal impact of content) determine how we are perceived by others and effect our ability to influence them.  Effective leadership and extraordinary communication integrates ideas, insights, and information to inspire and influence others to act on their message. Authentic communication must challenge individuals in profound ways to choose action over words. (Obama Effect)

Lessons Learned from the Obama Communication Style 

  1. Know and go with what you got –Be authentic
  2. Show understanding through empathy asking: “How do you think that would make you feel?” (Obama’s mother always asked him to answer this question when dealing with others)
  3. Do not fear or over react to comments by others–Be true to your values and take the high road when building relationships.
  4. Reflecting on life experiences keeps us grounded and our mental maps updated.
  5. Keep your on eyes on the prize – Have a vision
  6. Replace Yes, but… thinking  with Yes, we can… and positive action will follow.
  7. Keep things in perspective and balance-Take vacations and pay attention to your family needs.
  8. No one is optimistic all the time. But anyone can learn how to adopt a more positive, healthier attitude. When you practice being an optimist, you’ll be on your way to being more confident, relaxed, humorous, and effective as a connector and communicator.
  9. Create “unique connections” by treating others with respect and dignity.  When people feel accepted and respected they have the desire and motivation to collaborate, share information, and work together to accomplish goals.
  10. Provide a common language and powerful theme based on building coalitions and cooperation.  Yes, we can. The focus is providing a vision, strategy, and tactics to support grassroots coalitions in understanding the need for change by building a strong vision for the future and creating trust through open and ongoing communications. 

Finally, one of the most powerful lessons is to be an effective listener by seeking to understand others before being understood. You can do this by using the skills of clarification, restatement, and reflection. This type of authentic and active listening shows your desire to forge a partnership not just impose your ideas. You signal to others your desire to establish yourself as someone who is  open, responsive, and flexible. Your goal in active listening is to create a positive and comfortable environment where participants feel free to confront different points of view because you are confident that listening doesn’t always mean agreement. By being an effective listener you show acceptance –without sacrificing your own style or point of view. To be an extraordinary communicator it is critical that the “message, mechanics, and mental frame” be in-sync through a common language of ideas and information that say, ‘I care and respect you and understand your needs and issues‘.  This approach is vastly different from many leadership approaches that promote “polish and presence” as keys to effective communication. By utilizing The Obama-Leadership Effect ™, leader-communicators can authentically lead in diverse situations and strategically build trust and inspire others to believe in their message and vision. Leaders must find their own voice, so they can connect with followers and present themselves as authentic, inspiring and memorable leaders. Given your experience and perceptions–What do you think makes a leader able to connect and be perceived as authentic? 

 

 

 

perspectives #3

in early june two thousand eight, my wife and i were driving though santa barbara on the way back to venice. it was sunset, highway one, pick your favorite commercial.  we had a long weekend in santa lucia, tasting pinot, taking it slow.  she was sleeping.  npr played, the reception was poor.  between crackles and scratches, bill moyer’s voice rose above a live audience in memphis applauding his introduction.  i knew then, as much i know today, this speech would stay with me, nagging me, challenging me to act.

perspectives #2

in the february vanity fair, chistopher hitchens illuminates the global struggle for free speech in the twenty first century.  withstanding the geo political, economic and cultural implications of his thoughts, i am inspired by the courage of the poets, writers and watch guards of human rights referenced in the article.

when american political folk speak to transcendent leadership, they might consider these examples as well. these voices are reminiscent to those that founded the united states of america.  are we not all men/women in search of the same things, life, liberty and happiness?

“Sometimes this fear—and this blackmail—comes dressed up in the guise of good manners and multiculturalism. One must not wound the religious feelings of others, many of whom are poor immigrants in our own societies. To this I would respond by pointing to a book published in 1994. It is entitled For Rushdie: Essays by Arab and Muslim Writers in Defense of Free Speech. Among its contributors is almost every writer worthy of the name in the Arab and Muslim world, ranging from the Syrian poet Adonis to the Syrian-Kurdish author Salim Barakat, to the late national bard of the Palestinians, Mahmoud Darwish, to the celebrated Turkish writers Murat Belge and Orhan Pamuk. Especially impressive and courageous was the list of 127 Iranian writers, artists, and intellectuals who, from the prison house that is the Islamic Republic, signed their names to a letter which said: “We underline the intolerable character of the decree of death that the Fatwah is, and we insist on the fact that aesthetic criteria are the only proper ones for judging works of art.… To the extent that the systematic denial of the rights of man in Iran is tolerated, this can only further encourage the export outside the Islamic Republic of its terroristic methods which destroy freedom.” In other words, the situation is the exact reverse of what the condescending multiculturalists say it is. To indulge the idea of religious censorship by the threat of violence is to insult and undermine precisely those in the Muslim world who are its intellectual cream, and who want to testify for their own liberty—and for ours. It is also to make the patronizing assumption that the leaders of mobs and the inciters of goons are the authentic representatives of Muslim opinion. What could be more “offensive” than that?”

-chistopher hitchens-

Purpose-Center Leadership: Exercise #1 Purpose and Vision Quest

Your Personal Purpose and Vision Quest

 

 

ExerciseAnswer the following questions to create a personal life quest or vision.

 

 

 

  • Imagine achieving a result in your life that you deeply desire.  This purpose provided meaning and fired your passion for living.  Describe it.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Suppose you had a vision of greatness and fulfillment for yourself.  What would it be?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • How do you want to be remembered by your family, friends, work associates and community?

 

 

 

 

 

  • What are your strengths for achieving and making a difference in life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Write below your personal quest or vision. Now your life has a unique purpose – you might want to carry this purpose statement in your wallet to help keep your life on this path.