You are on page 1of 7

Mr.

President

1

³Mr. President´

Mario Ramos ³Obama Paper´ February 17, 2011 Dr. Valarie L Spiser-Albert MGT 4923.001

There are references made to the different approaches of a situational leader throughout Obama¶s inaugural speech. improving healthcare and education. Through his presidency. Robert Gates and Press Secretary. These subordinates have different levels of competence and commitment regarding domestic. determining smarter efficient use of our energy and resources. President 2 The historical significance of President Obama¶s inaugural speech is delivered at a time when the United States was being affected by a global financial crisis. Obama¶s overall leadership style is most characteristic of the situational leadership approach. tolerance of race and religion. In his speech. leaders must deliver a clear vision and the plan to realize that vision. Obama will need to determine when to exercise a directing. Obama acknowledges the current situation and requests that individuals take responsibility for promoting American ideals. 2010. For this to occur. A directive . p.Mr. and global issues. Leaders must adapt and provide a degree of directive or supportive style accordingly to the developmental level of their subordinates. Obama emits a directing tone in his speech by outlining priorities and his agenda for the nation. He discusses economic recovery. coaching. and setting aside political differences in order to work together on the nation¶s problems. Situational leadership is made up of two independent behaviors: supporting and directing. 142). or delegating approach as a situational leader. p. The first two approaches include the directive and the coaching approach. Obama¶s subordinates include members of his cabinet. 142). supporting. Historically. 2010. Secretary of Defense. economic. unity. His speech lists several priorities for his presidency. Situational leadership style ³matches or responds to the needs of the situation´ (Dubrin. and hope. While there are nuances of charismatic. inaugural speeches seem to deliver messages of patriotism. President Obama¶s inaugural speech delivers a clear vision in an uplifting manner. This style calls on the leader to adapt his or her leadership style to the capabilities of subordinates on a given task (Dubrin. Robert Gibbs. transformational leadership styles in the creation of his vision. and maintaining our international presence.

and skills needed for specific improvement (Dubrin. Obama accomplishes this by identifying the challenges American¶s face collectively as ³our journey´ (Obama. the supporting and the delegating approaches are also exemplified within Obama¶s speech. 141). p. our nation. ³« those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account . duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly. there is little directing in the supportive approach. p. they are ultimately left to manage daily operations. 141). 141). reform bad habits. 2009). Further support is provided by enhancing morale (Dubrin.´ he communicates clear expectations and provides a clear perception of what is expected (Obama. this was observed with Obama¶s cabinet appointments. 2010. 2010. the leader pinpoints the behavior. p. This expression also relates to the last approach regarding delegating. Obama specifically reminds them. 3 where those candidates were vetted in order to undertake the issues discussed in his speech. Although the subordinates work toward Obama¶s common goals.to spend wisely. and do our business in the light of day´ (Obama. Obama accomplishes this by discussing American values and how to focus our skills toward improvement. Obama must be selective of his words in order to motivate. and the world. He further demonstrates his directive approach through his actions. A supportive approach requires a leader to create an emotionally supportive climate (Dubrin. However. 2009). 2009). which Obama demonstrates as he lists what ³The state of the economy calls for´ (Obama. America . In coaching. p. He reminds us ³to extend opportunity« because it is the surest route to our common good´ (Obama. 2010.they will be met´ (Obama. 2009). ³the challenges we face are real« But know this. As a situational leader. President approach requires planning and organizing (Dubrin. As a coach. 303). 2010. Specifically. Delegating . He first acknowledges the challenges Americans face and confidently states. 2009).Mr. As Obama expresses ³we have duties to ourselves. 2009). Coaching is present in his speech as well. Obama must provide support by listening and allowing his subordinates to direct some basic decisions. In contrast to coaching. attitude.

his communication style is more suggestive of charismatic and transformational leadership qualities. with little directing and support (Dubrin. 2010. For example. Through communication style. focusing constituents beyond their self-interests and toward the good of society (Dubrin.´ ³all are equal. Obama must delegate a number of tasks to his subordinates. 2010. Obama is capable of relating to the audience through his communication style. Obama¶s inaugural speech aims to communicate his vision and a plan to achieve that vision. In his inaugural speech. p. 2010. p. and innovation. all are free´). creativity. This involves discussing the big picture. He outlines . This in turn provides motivation to develop skills and demonstrate competence (Dubrin. 83). As a charismatic leader. 2010. the time has come to set aside childish things´). the need for change. To accomplish this. his speech relates to the interests of his constituents and also has far reaching influence to the global audience. Historical references made in his speech can be identified and shared by many Americans. 72). 209). by establishing a climate for creativity and innovation. 78). 2010. for the good of the whole. Obama portrays both charismatic and transformational leadership qualities. p. delegate. As a situational leader. Obama is able to inspire the people of America and gear them to embrace change. A transformational leader creates positive change. and maintaining a long-range perspective from a broad point of view (Dubrin. 209). His speech was grounded heavily in historical events. the President must direct clear objectives. p. A charismatic leader is visionary and has the ability to inspire (Dubrin. Obama brings about change. there are references to the declaration of independence (³We the People. as well as to memories of the Depression era. p. There is a reference to the bible (³in the words of Scripture. While Obama¶s leadership style is most characteristic of a situational leader. President 4 calls for assigning authority and responsibility for a specific task to another person. and provide support and coaching as needed. 2010. p. 84-85).Mr. One aspect of this communication style is through management by storytelling (Dubrin. commitment to greatness.

In the beginning of the inaugural speech. Obama is able to recruit people of other nations through this technique to communicate his message even farther. presidents have taken oath. ³With old friends and former foes.Mr. ³To the people of poor nations. 2009).´ and ³«to all other peoples and governments« from the grandest capitals to the small village« America is a friend of each nation. we¶ll work tirelessly´ (Obama. Through this method of storytelling. Of the second rhetorical technique. p.´ He reminds the people of some of the nation¶s greatest struggles ³In the year of America's 5 birth« when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt«´ (Obama. 2010. 2009). Obama was able to connect the struggles and accomplishments of the past to those of today and what the future may hold. . he utilizes these memorable stories to communicate values and vision. As a charismatic leader. President the past to demonstrate how far we have come: ³« traveled across oceans in search of a new life« toiled in sweatshops« fought and died. 2009). Through use of metaphors. These are the attributes of a charismatic leader. the two metaphors presented include ³rising tides of prosperity´ and ³still waters of peace´ (Obama. in places like Concord and Gettysburg. 2009). especially since history is comprised of good times (peace and prosperity) as well as bad times. This includes the two rhetorical techniques: use of metaphors and Obama¶s ability to gear language suitable for the global audience. Another aspect of Obama¶s communication style as a charismatic leader is through management by inspiration (Dubrin. there are several examples evident in his speech where Obama chooses a level of language that establishes an emotional bond with the global audience. every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms´ (Obama. Normandy and Khe Sahn. These metaphors characterize the times of which other U. Obama attempts to inspire the people to move forth. He expresses.S. 77-78).´ He encompasses his audience and inspires them with emotional messages such as. ³Yet. He directly addresses.

and encouraging creativity and innovation is what sets apart Obama¶s leadership abilities. it is the combination of leadership qualities that gear an individual toward being an effective leader.´ This encouragement for creativity leads to innovation. However. and discusses having to re-build the country¶s infrastructure. Effective leadership is more than delivering a speech to the American people. the makers of things´ and reminds us that ³Our minds are no less inventive´ during these challenging times (Obama. In order to foster creativity. he communicates the challenge at hand. and wield technology's wonders. Obama¶s passion for the task at hand establishes a climate for creativity and innovation.´ He then motivates the people to participate. where ³We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. President Obama¶s inaugural speech is simple and comprehensive. His ability to bring about major. Obama is able to appeal to his audience and bring about change by encouraging creativity and innovation. He also focuses on creativity.´ making several references toward commitment to ³greatness. to ³restore science to its rightful place.´ He identifies the creative people from within. ³consider the road that unfolds before us´ and ³find meaning in something greater than themselves. positive change in this manner is characteristic of a transformational leader. However. ³to pursue their full measure of happiness. improve health care and education. the doers. recalling ³the risk-takers.´ Obama acknowledges the nation¶s current situation. delivering a specific communication style. the combination of setting the tone for the needs of the situation. and asks the American people to look at the big picture.Mr. 2009). President 6 As a transformational leader. . there were other qualities that demonstrate other styles of leadership. While he is best characterized by one leadership style.

Ohio: South-Western Cengage.org/scripps/archive/speeches/detail/4453 . (2010). A. President 7 Works Cited Dubrin. 20 Jan. http://millercenter. Barack. J.Mr. and Skills. Leadership: Research Findings. Practice. 2009. Obama." Washington. "Presidential Inaugural Address.