President Obama recently gave a speech at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner and it included his characteristic humor and wit. I love to see high-powered leaders using the skill of comedy.
Whether you think President Obama is a bad leader or a good leader, I argue that he is a strong leader.
To be able to endure one of the most stressful jobs in the world with all the intense responsibilities that go with it, making jokes becomes necessary. Of course, telling jokes is not easy and certainly not expected by anyone other than comedians. Obama manages to infuse humor in his work, and I find it not only refreshing but an indication that he is able to balance the heavy forces in his life with lighthearted observations and statements about the world.
Being a strong leader is about such a balance—when life is pulling you every which way, it takes a strong personality to keep it in focus and not take everything too seriously.
Leaders aim to make improvements with others as well as with oneself. Leaders set a tone, create energy, and breathe life into projects without the need to take all the credit.
Obama is a good speaker and this means that he not only has valuable things to say, he knows how to say them well.
When I think about Obama, I don’t think he has done anything to merit “one of the greatest Presidents” nor “one of the worst” and that means he is, at minimum, doing his job. He knows he has challenges ahead and even made jokes about how hard it is to get things accomplished. In reference to the Republican congressional leadership, Obama thanked them “for taking time from their exhausting schedule of not passing any laws” to attend the dinner.
Jimmy Kimmel, providing some professional comic relief at the dinner, joked that “There’s a term for guys like President Obama,” Kimmel then gave a pause. “Probably not two terms.”
While Mitt Romney may have what it takes to be President, I wonder if he has decent comedic timing. Thus far, I have yet to see it but I am optimistic and open minded.
I doubt most political commentators and taking heads have ever made judgments on political figures like the President based on brand of humor, but I believe it is worth looking at as a contributing factor to one’s leadership style.
You certainly don’t have to be funny like President Obama to be a strong leader, but in these times of economic struggle, it definitely couldn’t hurt.
Jimmy Fallon President Obama Slow Jam