Interestingly, the answer is not necessarily found as an end result and as presented. That is, what the public receives. Obama’s name and even meeting the press simply demonstrates that he is the spokesman for what is being said and done. He is, after all, the recognized leader. In fact, if he is a good leader he is simply speaking for what his Inner Circle has agreed on. If “events truly dictate who our leaders ought to be” the individual with experience and full knowledge of the specific issue being discussed has volunteered without reservation and being fully authentic takes leadership and yet remains hidden to the public. So, at least within the workings of the Inner Circle, and behind closed doors, this individual is the actual leader, takes charge and oversees what needs to be done. In other words an expert in a specific area takes the reins and lays it all on the table. This expert in the problem being discussed literally takes charge in that room, but what is public is what President Obama presents as leader to the outside world and no one knows of the actual leader.
Knowing the quality of any leader requires personal observation of their working with others of their Inner Circle. It is full of nuance and subtlety, Looks, breathing, body language and the way words are used as well as feelings being attached. These ingredients combine to present a picture that has much to do with feeling trust, safety and respect and If they are lacking authenticity becomes impossible. On the other hand, if President Obama is fully present when a member speaks to him, does he confirm, how does he respond and to what degree candid in response? Is genuine dialogue that can only be spontaneous taking place between them? Without such actual exchange what else exists between them?
So knowing the quality of a leader certainly has to do with end results, or at least this is how leaders are judged. But, what and who is/was responsible for taking the wheel and driving all efforts towards and to those end result that become public? Being witness to actual relationships and the dialogue between them is the only way to know.
My experiences force me to conclude that the best leaders surround themselves with the most talented people available and do everything possible to empower each to be as fully themselves and to exercise their knowledge and power as leaders whenever events dictate that they do so.
L&MB Magazine 6 - Q2, 2016
Leadership and Management booksSubscribe now