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Archive: August 2, 2009 - August 8, 2009

A Slip of the Tongue

The fact that the president listened, heard, and acted to mitigate the damage of his unfortunate comment is a test of good leadership.

By Kathy Kretman | August 6, 2009; 11:41 AM ET | Comments (1)


With the beer summit, Obama turned down the heat and calmed the situation, just what we want people in authority to do for us: Make things nice.

By Marty Linsky | August 5, 2009; 2:23 PM ET | Comments (15)

Loose Lips Sink Political Ships

For senior leaders, there is no such thing as a casual conversation, especially when you are in front of the camera.

By George Reed | August 5, 2009; 2:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

Phony Staging

A quieter meeting inside the White House without all the hoopla might have had a more profound impact on the American public.

By Pablo Eisenberg | August 5, 2009; 2:16 PM ET | Comments (1)

Health Care Summit

If President Obama can bring leaders together on both sides of the health care debate, I think all Americans would be happy to buy the first round.

By Robert Goodwin | August 5, 2009; 12:32 PM ET | Comments (1)

When the Shade Snaps Up

Politics is so scripted today that most Americans are especially attuned to those brief and usually unwanted glimpses of what a politician is really thinking.

By Bill Shore | August 4, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

A Sign for Obama's Mirror

I have a habit of putting a key reminder on my mirror to read each morning when I'm shaving. President Obama needs to have one that says 53/47, to remind him that nearly half of voters last year still went for his opponent.

By John R. Ryan | August 4, 2009; 11:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

How Very Human

Obama's recovery was good, but in some ways perhaps too measured, in contrast to his initially spontaneous reaction.

By Rick Rochelle | August 4, 2009; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Opportunity Still Ahead

President Obama has set the stage. We must determine that we will no longer accept that only 10 percent of African American and Hispanic students who enter 9th grade graduate from college and the many other racial disparities in our society today.

By Yash Gupta | August 4, 2009; 11:37 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Power of the Personal Story

Can the administration find a story as engagingly positive on health-care reform as the Gates-Crowley story was engagingly negative?

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | August 4, 2009; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (18)

Stupidity Begets Stupidity

The president instead blended confidence and humility by owning his mistake and seeking to fix it, despite the frustration he must feel knowing that from the arrest forward, it was all pretty stupid.

By Paul Schmitz | August 4, 2009; 10:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

Washington-Style Leadership

I often wonder how much "leadership" transpires in the White House. I picture every decision staffed and vetted with a multitude of advisers.

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | August 4, 2009; 10:37 AM ET | Comments (2)

Self-Created Problems

Better to be silent and thought insensitive than to speak out and prove it.

By Slade Gorton | August 4, 2009; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (1)

Less Beer, More Honesty

Candidate Obama criticized then-President Bush for not admitting mistakes. I think President Obama missed an opportunity here to distinguish himself from "politics as usual."

By Bob Schoultz | August 4, 2009; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Distorted Loudspeaker

Our president may have learned that he has to weigh his words carefully, most especially when uninformed or not carefully briefed on all the facts.

By Warren Bennis | August 4, 2009; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Essential Assist

Pres. Obama did not want to revisit the Gates-Crowley affair after his "stupidly" remark at the press conference. It was Michelle Obama and, I would guess, Valerie Jarrett who said to him, in effect, "You made this worse, now make it better."

By Howard Gardner | August 3, 2009; 12:53 PM ET | Comments (11)

Don't Wait for It to 'Blow Over'

If you are trying to accomplish important goals, don't throw out a divisive, emotionally charged observation. If you do, however, act quickly and don't wait for it to "blow over."

By Michael Maccoby | August 3, 2009; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (1)

Worth a Thousand Words

Leadership is the ability to respond quickly to situations, including "correcting" mistakes or mis-speaks.

By Andy Stern | August 3, 2009; 12:01 PM ET | Comments (2)

A Bias for Action

The first report is always wrong. But once known, facts should be deliberately confronted.

By Gen. John Batiste (Ret.) | August 3, 2009; 11:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

'Four Seasons' Service

The Four Seasons Hotels are known for excellence, but not because they don't make mistakes. Rather, they have a deeply ingrained culture of recognizing their mistakes and making up for the mistake in ways that make the customer happy.

By Roger Martin | August 3, 2009; 11:44 AM ET | Comments (1)

A Stroke of Leadership Genius

Obama saw the potential to demonstrate qualities that people value just as much as toughness and steadfastness in a leader: Willingness to admit error is one.

By Steven Pearlstein | August 3, 2009; 11:32 AM ET | Comments (19)

When Leaders Act Like Human Beings

When a leader admits to mistakes and reaches out to others for reconciliation, he or she makes it easier for others to just be human.

By Marshall Goldsmith | August 3, 2009; 10:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

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