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Mar 17th, 2009


The Secret to Obama’s Success: He’s Boring?

Some people love their drama, drama, drama. But for career success — and long life — there’s nothing like  good old dependability.
Barack Obama / Illustration by Sarah King / Oprah Magazine
Illustration: Sarah King

By Lauren Dzubow
O, The Oprah Magazine (pp. 113-114)
April 2009

Excerpt

“You’re becoming a bore,” Barack Obama’s roommate chided him during his student days at Columbia University. For a guy used to being in the cool crowd, it was a “scathing indictment,” the president recalls in his memoir Dreams from My Father — but he admits there was some truth to it. By then, he writes, he was concentrating on his studies, running 3 miles a day, fasting on Sundays. And no more getting high. All in all, his was becoming a rather predictable, disciplined life.

“Boring” might not be the first adjective that comes to mind to describe our president, but it was “No Drama Obama” who assured the nation with his steady composure and won the White House.

Aubrey Immelman, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University in Minnesota, says the variable that most distinguishes Obama from the two previous presidents is conscientiousness — one of the “big five” personality factors in standard psychology (everyone has all five, in differing degrees; the others are openness to experience, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism).

People who score high on the conscientiousness scale (as determined by several personality inventories) are dependable, orderly, self-disciplined, achievement oriented, cautious, industrious, and deliberate — the type who could, say, run a masterfully efficient political campaign, exercise daily, even while on the road, and make methodical decisions. (Those who score low tend to be careless, irresponsible, disorganized, and unreliable.)

Indeed, a 2000 study from the journal Assessment suggests that when it comes to presidents, conscientiousness is associated with greatness: George Washington, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower, and Harry Truman (all of whom historians rank among the country’s foremost leaders) scored in the 90th percentile and above for the trait, based on inventories completed by biographical experts. Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln were solidly conscientious (78th and 75th percentile); Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy, however, came in at the 5th percentile. …

Full story

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Related reports on this site

Barack Obama’s Presidential Leadership Style (Sept. 8, 2012)


Click on image for larger display

Barack Obama’s Leadership Style (Feb. 21, 2009)


Click on image for larger view

Obama’s Decision-Making Style (Nov. 25, 2008)

President Obama meets with members of his administration in the Situation Room. (Pete Souza / The White House via Associated Press)

Barack Obama’s Personality Profile (Nov. 2, 2008)

Barack Obama: A Question of Toughness (Nov. 2, 2008)

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NEWS UPDATE

Iraq Qaeda Group Slams Obama Withdrawal As Ploy


March 17, 2009

DUBAI — An al Qaeda-linked group in Iraq has accused U.S. President Barack Obama of deception, saying his withdrawal plan is only meant to buy time, and called for a fresh wave of insurgent attacks.

The leader of the self-styled Islamic State in Iraq, in an audio recording posted on Islamist websites on Tuesday, said the plan was an admission of defeat by “the slave who was accepted as the master of the house.”

Despite becoming relatively isolated, the group has continued to claim responsibility for major suicide attacks, including a bombing that killed 28 people at a police academy last week.

“By promising (to Americans) that he will return home their sons … the new master admits defeat, although implicitly,” militant leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi said on the recording.

“What the head of the occupation state announced is just deception by colonialism in a new way, hoping that the stupid will accept occupation … and humiliation for another three years under the guise of a phased withdrawal,” Baghdadi said. …

Tuesday’s message could not be authenticated, but it was posted on the main Islamist websites used by insurgent groups and the speaker’s voice sounded like that on earlier messages from Baghdadi.

“The Sunni people must make a sincere stand against the coalition (of U.S. forces and the Baghdad government) so that Baghdad is not sold for a cheap price to … Iran and (its) agents,” he said, denouncing the Shi’ite Muslim-led government as a puppet of neighboring Iran.

A Sunni insurgency prompted by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 has fallen off sharply in the past year. But it remains strong in the northern city of Mosul and some other areas.

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7 Responses to “A Key to Success for Obama?”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Sunday Says:

    […] A Key to Success for Obama? […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Barack Obama’s Leadership Style Says:

    […] A Key to Success for Obama? […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Obamas Decision-Making Style Says:

    […] A Key to Success for Obama? (March 17, 2009) — Excerpts from Oprah Magazine — Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at the College of Saint Benedict | Saint John’s University in Minnesota, says the variable that most distinguishes Obama from the two previous presidents [George W. Bush and Bill Clinton] is conscientiousness — one of the “Big Five” personality factors in standard psychology (everyone has all five, in differing degrees; the others are Openness to Experience, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism). […]

  4. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Iraq Drops from View Says:

    […] A Key to Success for Obama? […]

  5. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Libya No-Fly, Airstrikes Imminent Says:

    […] A Key to Success for Obama? Two years ago today, on March 17, 2009, I featured a report from Oprah magazine regarding the personal qualities of President Barack Obama. […]

  6. Immelman vs. Bachmann » Blog Archive » Barack Obama’s Presidential Leadership Style Says:

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    […] A Key to Success for Obama? (March 17, 2009) […]

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