President Obama – Traditional Leader or Lean Leader?

I have absolutely no interest in getting into a political debate.  I am not interested in anyone’s political views.  That is not the point of this blog.  The question I have has to do with the leadership style exhibited by President Obama in an interview on NBC.  Here is the specific clip from the interview about the oil spill in the Gulf.

President Obama wants to know “who’s a@@ to kick”.  Right away, I jump to this being a trait of a traditional leader.  Someone looking for a scape goat and looking to place blame.  I agree that BP should be held responsible for the effects of the spill, but what good does it do to blame a person?  Shouldn’t we be concerned with the temporary containment of the oil leak?  What about the clean up?  More importantly, how do we error proof this so it never happens again?  I can remember getting my rear kicked when I worked in the auto industry.  In fact, it took all of 3 days before I had the assistant plant manager screaming at me, because I allowed 3 or 4 bad parts through in my 12 hrs of inspection of about a thousand parts.  He was also one of the first to go when we started implementing lean.

So, is this comment taken out of context?  Is this comment a trait of a lean leader or a traditional command and control leader?



Posted on June 9, 2010, in Environment, Government and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Obama is not a leader of any type. To answer your own question listen to a little more of the interview. He never talked to Tony Hayward.

  2. I agree with Ed, the behavior(s) observed indicate no leader type…the closest would be ‘command and control’, ‘do as I say’.

    In my opinion, a Lean Leadership style would be more active in visiting the Gemba, coaching/mentoring and challenging ‘containment strategies/development’, be humble enough to accept other Countries potential solutions, etc..

  3. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not intimately familiar with the intricacies of LEAN, but can say that I’m adamently for any thing that helps streamline things to make more sense–be it processes or politics or anything in between. With my background in public relations, I see this clip as being a pandering to what a leader thinks is wanted (which typically is big business being held accountable). What I will say is that when we can find a leader that incorporates making processes and policy more streamlined with one who can portray it confidently in the mass media, we will have a great, well-rounded leader.

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