Learning From Bush’s Leadership Mistakes

Given the upcoming presidential inauguration, it seems appropriate to look back at some lessons we can learn from President Bush’s tenure.  Rich Lowry, Editor of the National Review, listed 10 mistakes made by George Bush that shaped his presidency. While some issues are specific to the president’s situation, there’s a lot that leaders can learn from many of these errors. So here’s “my take” on some of the broader leadership issues:

  • An ineffective management style.
    My take: If you’re going to delegate, make sure you’ve got a good team. And don’t forget to question them and hold them accountable
  • Deferring to his generals.
    My take: For the important issues, listen for feedback from the front lines, not just your senior execs.
  • Not taking charge during Katrina.
    My take: When a crtitical issue hits, take charge and mobilize your best team ASAP.
  • Not reading enough history.
    My take: To borrow a quote: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
  • Refusing to settle the internal war within his administration.
    My take: Debate is good; backstabbing is unacceptable. If your team can’t work together, then someone needs to be let go.
  • Underestimating the power of explanation.
    My take: Making the right decision is only one piece of a solution; you need to “sell” it to employees and other constituents.

The bottom line: The US needs strong leadership; good luck Obama!

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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