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Eye-to-eye with Obama

Charisma? That is often overestimated, Barack Obama. “Effective communication starts with one thing: that you believe what you say’, says the former president. Here you can read seven lessons that we can draw from a conversation with Barack Obama.

Barack Obama was last Friday a guest at the congress, Forward Thinking Leadership. Ben Tiggelaar went in to talk with him about ‘leadership’. These are the seven most important lessons that the interviewer remembers from that conversation with the former U.s. president.

Leadership starts with listening.

When Obama was president, he read every evening, for eight years, ten letters from citizens. To ensure that the sounds from the society imbued in the ‘bubble’ of the …

Barack Obama was last Friday a guest at the congress, Forward Thinking Leadership. Ben Tiggelaar went in to talk with him about ‘leadership’. These are the seven most important lessons that the interviewer remembers from that conversation with the former U.s. president.

Leadership starts with listening.

When Obama was president, he read every evening, for eight years, ten letters from citizens. To ensure that the sounds from the society imbued in the ‘bubble’ of the White House. ‘It made the figures and the policy is very specific. And it reminded me that the choices we made had an impact on millions of lives.’

Good communication begins with honesty.

Obama is by friend and enemy is seen as a clever speaker. What is his secret? ‘Tricks on the subject of charisma, a certain style or tone, that is all overrated. Effective communication starts with one thing: that you believe what you say. That you take the time to ask yourself what is really important for you and be as honest and clear as possible tells as you can.’

The power of stories.

‘What people apart from other living creatures is that we tell stories.’ Obama loves storytelling. “Change is sometimes frightening and therefore have we good need stories. Almost all of my speeches contain a history lesson. This is where we come from and this is where we’re going. Than people can imagine.’

Do not despair.

How to look Obama in the game that Trump is working on his legacy in breaking it down? ‘Abort, that is not what happens. This is the normal process of progress. Two steps forward, one step back.”

But from which he draws his hope? “Young people make me optimistic. They can be much better from the feet differ between people, are not afraid of creativity or entrepreneurship. That you see all over the world. The only question is sometimes whether the old generation wants to make. So we do not screw up and wait too long to address, for example, the climate or inequality.’

Make sure that your staff are not in the prison lands.

“I was the first president in a long time that does not suffer from scandals. And nobody of the staff was charged with or was in prison, haha.’ When Obama ascended the throne, in 2009, he immediately a ‘chief ethics’, and he suggested a few simple rules. Such as: if a meeting was “too nice” is, you may not want to go. Obama: ‘A conference in Hawaii, I can go to? No, sorry, that is too fun. Should not.’

Humor helps.

Sense of humor is important for leaders. Because when you work really seriously, it helps to think of yourself not too seriously. ‘Humor helps to keep things in perspective. Otherwise, you run the risk of thinking that it revolves around you. But it is the work that counts. By yourself to laugh will keep you focused on what’s important.’

Ask yourself: what counts?

It is a classic question, where Obama himself about begin: “I know for sure: if I’m on my deathbed, I think of the moments that I the hand of my daughters was holding and she took them to the park.’ Not the legendary speech to the Democratic Convention in 2004. Not the climate deal in Paris. “Many of my current employees have young families. I recommend them; invest at least as much time in this main project, if the project where you get paid for.’

Ben Tiggelaar is gedragsonderzoeker, trainer and publicist. He writes each week about management and leadership.

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