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Bob Woodward’s Practical Leadership Advice for President Obama

bob-on-meet-the-pressBob Woodward, the associate editor of The Washington Post and author of four books on President Bush (“Bush at War,” “Plan of Attack,” “State of Denial” and “The War Within“) offered some practical advice to President-elect Barack Obama based upon his observations and experiences over the past eight years. The article is titled 10 Take Aways From the Bush Years and while Woodward’s advice is targeted to the President-elect, it’s actually a Weekly Leader Must-Read for leaders at all levels. Here are his “take aways:”

  1. Presidents set the tone. Don’t be passive or tolerate virulent divisions.
  2. The president must insist that everyone speak out loud in front of the others, even — or especially — when there are vehement disagreements.
  3. A president must do the homework to master the fundamental ideas and concepts behind his policies.
  4. Presidents need to draw people out and make sure that bad news makes it to the Oval Office.
  5. Presidents need to foster a culture of skepticism and doubt.
  6. Presidents get contradictory data, and they need a rigorous way to sort it out.
  7. Presidents must tell the public the hard truth, even if that means delivering very bad news.
  8. Righteous motives are not enough for effective policy.
  9. Presidents must insist on strategic thinking.
  10. The president should embrace transparency. Some version of the behind-the-scenes story of what happened in his White House will always make it out to the public — and everyone will be better off if that version is as accurate as possible.

Please visit and read Woodward’s short column in order to benefit from his back stories.

NPR’s Fresh Air – Bob Woodward Details A White House Divided

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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Posted in General Leadership, Politics + Government.

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