Barack Obama: A Multi-faceted Leader

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By Melissa Silva, Javed Alfridi, Aleksandra Dukovska, Chinkhand Dorj

We have divided Obama’s leadership into factors that influence his leadership style (the influences of those close to him and his formal schooling) and the success of his leadership style in each department of American focus (economic, education, foreign policy, defense).

Obama’s influences were his mother, Stanley Ann Soetoro, and Representative John Lewis, a friend who lived through the Civil Rights movement.

Obama went from a not-very serious student at Punajou to a “monk” who studied in the library at Columbia for hours. His involvement in student leadership transitioned from being on the school basketball team to protesting investments in South Africa to becoming Editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Obama’s economic ratings are very low possibly because Obama does not show any signs of making personal financial sacrifices. In addition, there are no visible results for the average American to see the effects of Obama’s policies.

Obama’s education ratings have fallen slightly since starting in office but the incentives he sets and his ultimate vision for higher education is altogether a better framework for success than No Child Left Behind. However, Americans have not yet seen visible results of these policies.

Obama’s leadership regarding terrorism and defense has shifted dramatically. His position to withdraw from Afganistan during the campaign has changed and Obama has sent more troops to Afghanistan at the urgings of his generals. Perhaps Obama has acquired inside information on Afghanistan or perhaps he has bullied by his generals. The signals being sent show that Obama is not in control.

Obama has created a “spiritual cabinet” to advise him on his speeches to the Muslim population and to make sure the needs of that demographic are being met. Interestingly enough, Obama has ignored the voices of the public by supporting the right of Muslims to build a Mosque on controversial New York City ground.

Obama’s Foreign Policy takes into account the new economic power of China and India. Obama has been able to handle the cultural differences of communicating with these leaders to create a solution that satisfies both parties.

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