What can we learn from Obama's leaving speech?

What can we learn from Obama's leaving speech?

President Barack Obama delivered an emotionally charged farewell speech in Chicago last night, in which he looked back at his time in the White House and forward to his new life as a regular citizen.

The speech threw up many issues which have become encumbered with Obama’s rule, such as advances in healthcare, a growing economy and equality – it also proved a great example of how a good leader acquiesces power and prepares for a takeover.

The President was quick to thank his dedicated staff, as any good CEO should at the end of their tenure, praising them for their diligence: “To my remarkable staff, for eight years, and for some of you a whole lot more, I have drawn from your energy. And every day I try to reflect back what you displayed. Heart and character. And idealism. I’ve watched you grow up, get married, have kids, start incredible new journeys of your own.

“Even when times got tough and frustrating, you never let Washington get the better of you. You guarded against cynicism. And the only thing that makes me prouder than all the good that we’ve done is the thought of all the amazing things that you are going to achieve from here.”

Amongst other issues raised, Obama also talked about the importance of preserving core values in the face of a new leader.

When a CEO has to pass the torch, it can be a daunting time for staff – a good leader knows the importance of reassuring employees before their departure – which is exactly what Obama did. Though he will no longer be President, he reminded everyone that he would still play a part in the wider political game, and that he would strive to protect his legacy.

The hidden message in his speech is one that all leaders should listen to – namely not to take success for granted. Obama said that democracy is most vulnerable when their people forget they’re pursuing a common goal - leaders should be reminded that they are there to guide the company and the staff, not to dictate to them. When you lose sight of a common goal your company is running on borrowed time.

What do you think leaders can learn from Obama’s speech? Tell us in the comments…

Comments (1)

  • Jerome
    Thu, 12 Jan 2017 7:58am GMT
    leaders should be reminded that they are there to guide the company and the staff, not to dictate to them. What a reminder, those senior leaders are custodians of the organisation they lead

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