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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

THE QUESTION

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
FROM THE PANEL
Frances Hesselbein

Michelle's Leadership

The authenticity and integrity of our president -- and his wife -- came through in a way that inspired citizens around the world, including those of us cheering at home.

Posted by Frances Hesselbein, on April 10, 2009 9:13 AM
USC Students

Big Sticks and Know-It-All Relatives

People, or countries, on power trips are tiring to listen to, and big sticks only work if you don't hit yourself on the back swing. Obama's best "saber" right now is his smile.

Posted by USC Students, on April 9, 2009 9:48 AM
Alan M. Webber

Three Tasks for CEO Obama

Let's assume you're the new head of a company, and the previous boss told the union (or the European Union) their help was not needed. What should you do? You have three jobs to get done.

Posted by Alan M. Webber, on April 9, 2009 9:32 AM

Words that Resonate

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.

Posted by Jim Kouzes, on April 8, 2009 2:06 PM
Kurt Schmoke

The Big "Ask"

Leadership often requires careful cultivation. President Obama did well on his initial cultivation trip abroad. Let's see what happens when he returns for the big "ask."

Posted by Kurt Schmoke, on April 8, 2009 7:47 AM
Elizabeth Sherman

A Leader Among Leaders

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
Patricia McGinnis

Global Town Hall

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
Howard Gardner

Rebuilding the American Image

President Obama is making it possible to have better, saner relations, and for that the whole world owes him a very big thank you.

Posted by Howard Gardner, on April 6, 2009 6:49 PM

No One Likes a Bully

Smiles are a good start, but nothing beats gaining trust and respect when it comes to developing a productive working relationship, which is what Obama accomplished on this trip.

Posted by Joanne B. Ciulla, on April 6, 2009 6:44 PM

Paper Tiger Obama?

Obama's reaction to the North Korean missile test will indicate his direction of foreign policy, and whether or not he is regarded as a paper tiger.

Posted by Slade Gorton, on April 6, 2009 6:36 PM

Obama, Keeping it Real

Obama doesn't often pose or grab opportunities to project an image other than who he really is.

Posted by Bill Shore, on April 6, 2009 6:15 PM
Yash Gupta

The Power of Goodwill

Our security, economy, and influence in the world depend on good relations with allies. This is Obama's chance to re-establish the notion that the U.S. president is still the leader of the free world.

Posted by Yash Gupta, on April 6, 2009 2:50 PM
David Walker

Confident and Non-apologetic

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.

Posted by David Walker, on April 6, 2009 12:59 PM
John H. Cochran, MD

The Art of Image

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
Andy Stern

Moral Leadership Matters

We clearly have military superiority in a traditional sense, but as Iraq and Afghanistan prove, that is not enough. Moral standing and collaborative leadership do matter.

Posted by Andy Stern, on April 6, 2009 11:57 AM

Small, Refreshing Changes

Leaders of other countries are under no moral or legal obligation to do what we want. By gaining their commitment we will not get everything that we want - but we will get something!

Posted by Marshall Goldsmith, on April 6, 2009 11:52 AM

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FEATURED COMMENTS

danner1: Obama has so far performed adequately abroad. The real problem is his besotted supporters in the media and on boards such as this. The origi...

jfern03: President Obama is showing unbelievable leadership and fence mending skills after 8 years of a bull-in-a-china-shop disaster of a president....

lancedal: For the very first time after 8 long year, we finally have an adult represented us on the world stage. In the past 8 year, the U.S. was like...

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