Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Barack Obama: Leader loosing the human touch?

Wall street journal's Peggy Noonan made a big statement about the messiah of hope.

It is that nobody loves Obama. This is amazing because every president has people who love him, who feel deep personal affection or connection, who have a stubborn, even beautiful refusal to let what they know are just criticisms affect their feelings of regard. At the height of Bill Clinton's troubles there were always people who'd say, "Look, I love the guy." They'd often be smiling—a wry smile, a shrugging smile. Nobody smiles when they talk about Mr. Obama. There were people who loved George W. Bush when he was at his most unpopular, and they meant it and would say it. But people aren't that way about Mr. Obama. He has supporters and bundlers and contributors, he has voters, he may win. But his support is grim support. And surely this has implications.
Although I really doubt the concreteness of this claim it has a lesson for leaders. The human touch, the fact that human's fail, they have a life is somewhat missing from Obama. He has not connected emotionally with people. He has failed at building intimate relationships with his supporters. He simply hasn't disclosed enough about himself. Self-disclosure is an act of revealing things about you that belong to inner layers of your personality. Personality is like an onion. The layers on the top are things that world knows. As you reveal the inner layers of your personality, you indulge in acts of disclosure. It build relationships.Peggy adds
The other day a Republican political veteran forwarded me a hiring notice from the Obama 2012 campaign. It read like politics as done by Martians. The "Analytics Department" is looking for "predictive Modeling/Data Mining" specialists to join the campaign's "multi-disciplinary team of statisticians," which will use "predictive modeling" to anticipate the behavior of the electorate. "We will analyze millions of interactions a day, learning from terabytes of historical data, running thousands of experiments, to inform campaign strategy and critical decisions."
The machine like character of a person who is selling hope, playing on emotion can actually hurt repute. It shows the cold fabric of a person holding responsibility of the world's most powerful country. The human touch is missing. The ruthless roast of Donal Trump has reflections of the cold fabric.
Leaders responsible for creation, growth and development need to have a human touch. The coldness, ruthlessness, critiquing should be left for the villains of society. The bigger a tree grows, the more humble it has to become. Obama simply sounds too arrogant, too overconfident.