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'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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