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November 8, 2010

Obama’s mid-term loss provides stark reminder about leadership

As Barack Obama suffers a series of losses in the mid-term elections, managing director Sue Higgins comments on the need for us to follow up on the promises we make as leaders.

I personally was sad to see a Presidency the world has so hotly anticipated, suffer such a harsh blow just two years into its first term.

We all know the pressures of having to deliver so much in a short time, and there is no doubt that Obama had a mountain to climb. But did he promise too much? Did the drive to win the election cause him to offer things he simply couldn’t deliver? Or have his detractors merely seized an opportunity at a time of economic and social challenge to damage the opposition?

In business, it actually doesn’t matter which it is. Leadership is both about keeping to your promises, AND managing your team’s expectations. In a high pressure environment if the goals you have set are becoming harder to reach, it is vital that you still concentrate on galvanising and inspiring your workforce.

If achieving your plans is taking longer than expected, now is the time to acknowledge that with your team, look at what you have achieved so far, and how you could improve on things in the future.

Setbacks and disappointments are part of business – but how you handle them is often the difference between success and failure.

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