Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti
Obama Abroad: All Soft, No Power?
In his overseas trip, President Obama was determined to show that he was the un-Bush, compromising and conciliatory, drawing no lines in the sand. As a new leader who is being closely watched and tested, should he have grabbed an opportunity during that same trip to demonstrate his toughness, showing his saber as well as his smile?
Posted by Ben Bradlee and Steve Pearlstein on April 6, 2009 11:29 AM
The first leadership challenge that President Obama faces in the world right now is not terrorism. It's the challenge of restoring trust in the United States, and trust is at the heart of all successful relationships.
Facing staggering deficits and loss of wealth and jobs, America can no longer afford the luxury of toughness. Obama knows that America must telegraph a new message of respect, collaboration and mutuality.
Posted by Elizabeth Sherman, on April 7, 2009 4:04 PM
President Obama reached out beyond the official meetings with world leaders to build trust and good will among the people. This global engagement of the public will go a long way to building the reservoir of credibility and trust we will need.
Posted by Patricia McGinnis, on April 7, 2009 2:01 PM
President Obama was right to convey a cooperative, multilateral approach, but he also needs to show his resolve in addressing issues of major concern to the United States, including the long-range missile launch by North Korea.
He should distance himself from the very polarizing view of only "good friends vs. absolute enemies," but he needs to be crystal clear on the U.S.'s position and values and then be steely in his consistency in support of them.
Posted by John H. Cochran, MD, on April 6, 2009 12:02 PM