Acquire These Skills for Long-Term Viability
You know what’s not for the faint of heart?
Wouldn’t you agree? Being visionary, making difficult decisions, assembling and guiding a skilled team – that is not easy. And there is always room for improving your leadership skills.
But where do you go to get new insights, new perspectives? How about the top? That’s right. You look at what others are doing well and practice what they are modeling for you.
Barack Obama has been President of the United States for nearly eight years. I think he can teach all of us a thing or two about leadership. Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum it is a fact that he has been leading this country for almost two terms, longer than most CEOs are in office. We typically hear Obama giving speeches written by speechwriters. Those rehearsed presentations are meant to get specific points across.
When President Obama stepped into a garage in Pasadena, California and he was interviewed by comedian and WTF Podcast host, Marc Maron.
In this interview Obama spoke off the cuff, from the heart, authentically. And in that context, he clearly stated the leadership skills he has acquired.
What President of the United States has ever been interviewed for a podcast? Obama deserves credit for connecting with people the way they are connecting outside of Washington, D. C. Engaging with the audience is a leadership skill right there.
The podcast has been downloaded 1.6 million times as I am writing this and it is well worth listening to for every leader. What can we learn from President Obama about leadership?
15 lessons I learned from Barack Obama (excerpted from the podcast)
- Find commonality.
- Don’t sweat the day to day stuff.
- Communicate in a way that is digestible.
- Get stuff done with people who are willing to progress.
- Make sure your organization is better off today than some time ago.
- Figure out what has worked in the past and scale it.
- Let the reason why you are doing it ground you.
- Be clear on who you want others around you to be. Model that.
- Work out and stay in shape.
- Don’t be the weak link.
- Don’t internalize the craziness of others around you.
- Break the cycle of craziness that you see in your family.
- Attract opposites. They ground you.
- Practice your craft until it becomes second nature.
- Be fearless.
“ I am fearless. I have been in the barrel tumbling down Niagara Falls. I emerged and I lived. That is such a liberating feeling.” ~ Barack Obama
In order for you to be fearless, you have a choice: a) you can either ignore what you just read and say “yeah, yeah” as if you know all of this already. Or, b) you can pick one of the lessons and apply it right now. It’s up to you.
To make it easier, I have transformed each lesson into a question you can ask yourself that is relevant to you personally:
Where am I in conflict right now and how can I identify common ground?
What little stuff am I worrying about today that will be meaningless in 10 years?
How can I make my communication more digestible to others?
In order to get stuff done, who is willing to engage?
What do I need to do today to assure my organization is better off tomorrow?
What has worked in the past and how can I scale it?
What is the reason I am engaging in this work? What is the bigger picture?
Who do I want to be and how can I role model this for others?
What can I do to be healthy and in good shape?
How can I contribute?
What craziness of others around me is affecting me? And how can I make sure I don’t internalize their behavior?
What can I do to break the cycle of craziness in my family?
How can I attract people that are unlike me so I can be grounded?
What of my craft do I need to practice so it can become second nature?
What am I afraid of? How can I overcome my fear?
Here is my challenge to you: Pick one question a day for the next 15 days and take action on it. No excuses!
Are you one of the ones who is willing to engage and progress? Then go for it. Feel free to comment on your progress below.
Who can you share this challenge with? People in your team? Family members? Peers?
Download WTF Marc Maron Podcast Episode 613 – President Barack Obama from iTunes.