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The Polls Are Open! Vote For Presidential Leadership Qualities


What qualities do Americans look for and see in their Presidents? Thanks to the miracle of Web 2.0, a number of leadership experts have created online surveys that ask and try to answer this very question. And they want you to join in the process! So let’s take a look, maybe learn something about leadership and have some fun!

remarkable_presidentsKevin Eikenberry, Chief Potential Officer of the Kevin Eikenberry Group and author of the book, Remarkable Leadership – Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time created the Remarkable Presidents poll which has closed but you can download the report from his website. Eikenberry used the twelve leadership competencies outlined in his book as the framework for this poll.  In the report he states:

Beyond my interest in policies and ideas as a voter, I’ve been closely following this race from a
leadership and learning perspective. Specifically, I’ve been watching, researching and commenting
on three things:
 The leadership lessons we all can learn from this very public event.
 The leadership qualities people think are most important for U.S. Presidents.
 The leadership skills exhibited by the candidates themselves.

The report has three components:

  • Leadership and the Candidates – Which asks “who is the best leader?”
  • Leadership Competencies of American Presidents which looks at past Presidents and

Making Politics Work For You which includes Business Lessons from Past Presidential Politics; Leadership Lessons from Past Presidential Politics; Managing the Biggest Transition of All; How to Deny Distractions and Be More Productive and Becoming the Leader You Were Born to Be.

There’s lots of interesting and useful material here and it’s definitely worth downloading the report.

NextCEOThe Next National CEO survey was put together by Personnel Decisions International (PDI), “a global consulting firm that works with 80% of Fortune 100 companies, providing smart measurable ways to evaluate leadership potential and help organizations make better talent decisions.”

The Next National CEO survey asks “So what makes a good U.S. President?” It invites visitors to rank the Presidential candidates and their running mates on ten of the same leadership traits that PDI consultants use to rate CEO candidates at today’s top companies. These include:

  • insightful judgment,
  • vision,
  • trustworthiness,
  • gets things done,
  • inspires others,
  • good judge of people,
  • influences others,
  • courage,
  • confidence, and
  • energy.

From a press release dates October 23, 2008:

(Visitors) are split on which presidential ticket has the strongest leadership traits. Respondents are rating U.S. presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama higher than Senator John McCain on all ten leadership characteristics such as insightful judgment and vision. They are also rating Alaska Governor Sarah Palin higher than Senator Joe Biden on all ten leadership characteristics.

Results for this survey are displayed in some snazzy flash graphs with the candidates results side by side. You can view ratings by candidates, characteristics and demographics.

This poll is still open so get in there and vote! was created “to let Americans better understand their potentially unarticulated feelings about the leadership characteristics of the two primary presidential candidates. Once a voter better clarifies in their own mind where the candidates stand on leadership issues, they can feel better about their vote. The additional opportunity with is that every participant can compare their own results to the rest of America and even break it down by nine other categories like sex, race, religion, and party affiliation.”

The flash graphs that compare the candidates qualities against a 5 point scale are pretty interesting. There are lots of different combinations of qualities that can be selected and compared.

From a post on the Help Me Vote 08 blog dated October 20, 2008:

According to the website, Americans view both Barack Obama and John McCain as below average leaders. The latest results from the website show that Americans give Obama a slightly higher grade than McCain overall, but neither candidate scores better than “average” on a single leadership characteristic. is a leadership analysis tool created by Dr. Tom Heemstra, the founder and president of Mach 5 Leadership Performance.

In the end none of these survey really tell us anything new but they are fun to participate in and to check out the results. And who knows, maybe the practice will get a few more Americans out to vote!

About the author

Peter A. Mello, Founder/Editor Founder of Weekly Leader and Sea-Fever Consulting, LLC, a leadership development and strategic communications consultancy. Previously, CEO of an international nonprofit organization and COO of a national insurance/risk management services firm. Peter has been leading people and managing organizations for over 30 years, writes a leadership column for MarineNews magazine and blogs about maritime culture at Sea-Fever. Follow him on Twitter.

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