What makes a Great Leader?
When I ask myself that question, the characteristics I look for (to name a few) are Compassion, Dedication, Hard Work, Honesty, Integrity, Intellect, Manners, Mastery, Responsibility, and Reverence.
For me, Barack Obama, former President of the United States was and is the quintessential leader, he exudes integrity, and is the epitome of Presidential and grace under pressure. In addition, his dedication to the job and to the people was evident throughout his Presidency.
Though I thought I knew a lot about him prior to both reading and listening to “A Promised Land,” I learned so much more as I delved into his memoir.
I switched between physically reading the book and listening to the audiobook, to mainly listening because I found President Obama’s voice to be extremely soothing. I could listen to him speak for hours (and in fact I did, considering that the audiobook is 29 hours!).
First and foremost, I was impressed by how kind and considerate President Obama was and is. Always recalling the names of campaign staffers and their families as well as the entire White House staff. Always checking in to make sure that everyone was hanging in. Responding to letters from the American People who had questions and concerns and trying to allay their fears whenever possible.
Always checking on his family no matter what was going on and being there for dinner, whenever possible. His love for them was always ever-present.
Barack Obama’s relationships with his team (which included Axe, Plouffe, Reggie, and Ben, etc.) spoke volumes. What was evident here was the amount of admiration, appreciation, and respect everyone had for each other.
What struck me as I was reading and listening was how hard he worked to get where he is. Reading, studying, gaining advice from aides, scholars, and government officials, even going so far as to reach across party lines to ensure that he was doing the best job he possibly could for the Nation.
From what I could tell, he always went into every situation prepared.
I was truly impressed by the attention to detail given by Barack Obama in “A Promised Land” and how he was able to recall key events and quotes from years prior with such accuracy.
Based on his descriptions of trying to get the Affordable Care Act passed, addressing the financial crisis, climate change (aka saving the tigers), and terrorism, there was nary a moment where I doubted how tirelessly President Obama worked during the first years of his Presidency to deliver as much as he possibly could.
To say that I miss this man doesn’t describe my feelings. I miss his compassion, his dedication, his morality, and his responsiveness. I miss the Obamas, plain and simple.
Reading this brought me peace. Remembering the feeling of being sheltered in a storm, when someone had our best interests at heart, made me feel safe, if only for a minute. I miss that feeling immensely and I look forward with hope, to the days ahead.
Published on Goodreads on 12.14.20.