President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama last week made their final official appearances and speeches whilst Americans (and in fact people all over the world), sadly say goodbye to a phenomenal couple that brought class, humility and grace to the most powerful office in the world.
Watching and reading so many posts, videos, comments and articles, you can see the impact they had across the world.
So what then are these wonderful qualities of leadership that the power couple possessed to make them achieve the seemingly un-achieveable?
1. A Clear Focus To Serve Others
Great leaders always have a clear focus that their job is about the people and how best to serve them.
The Obamas consistently did this – but they did so with integrity, decency and authenticity.
They had respect for all the citizens they served, treating people with respect, no matter what their background, title or age.
They showed heartfelt compassion to those suffering and were determined to help those in need to find resolution and help others. They always saw a bigger picture beyond themselves.
2. Ensuring Their Team Shared The Same Vision
Great leaders empower those around them and shared their trust and faith in others to help deliver their vision as part of a bigger team.
Vice President Joe Biden’s acceptance speech upon receiving his Presidential Medal of Freedom honour, is testament to how, when you share the same values, you can achieve great things together.
In an office notorious for its power games between the two positions, the same values were shared amongst both teams to ensure fluidity, common purpose and more importantly results.
3. Constant Encouragement And Having Faith In Others
By seeking the common ground, along with their genuine love for their country, the Obamas addressed ways to discuss, debate and find a solution – together.
Their constant encouragement to notice, commend and honour those who worked hard to serve and care for others was unwavering.
They showcased examples of those who had made a positive difference to improve the lives of others around them. This not only inspired them to continue their work, but to also inspire others around them.
4. Empowering Others
Whilst his leadership will be sorely missed, it’s clear to see during President Obama’s Farewell Speech that they’re still empowering others and see much hope going forwards.
Whilst many fear what will take place over the next four years, up until their last moments in office, the Obamas are providing strength, encouragement and hope – asking those to unite, to take action and to lead themselves.
As we see how true leaders can capture our hearts, it’s important to remember that leadership isn’t always for those in the most privileged offices – positive impact can and should be created at any level.
Cases Closer To Home
The inaugural Leadership Awards took place in November 2016, which shone a spotlight on excellence in Leadership, and for the first time looked to exemplify this across all sectors.
From youth workers and directors of major organisations, the efforts of both individuals and organisations to instigate change and create positive impact was phenomenal.
From their infancy with just one shop, I’ve watched South West London coffee company Artisan continue to grow their business across London’s south west with continuing passion and a drive to bring the best possible coffee to its customers.
As their business grew, their leadership and focus on training to engage and empower their team was always immensely impressive.
They never forgot their roots – and just last summer they embarked on a hugely successful charity effort to help a community in Uganda who had helped inspire and enable their business plan come to fruition.
Between their shops and the London coffee community, they raised over £10,000 which will go towards helping finish building the community college where they were volunteering.
This in turn will provide valuable skills that will help students find employment.
Always look to serve
Whether it be your family, friends, neighbours, employees, customers or Joe public, true leadership lives in all of us.
So let’s take a great lesson (or three) from a great President in his Farewell Address…
“If something needs fixing, then lace your shoes and get organising!”
“Believe you can make a difference, hitch your wagon to something that is bigger than yourself”.
“Whether you are young or young at heart…..I’m asking you to believe not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours.”
President Obama Out *Drops Mic *