Professor Kathy Kram on Obama, Anger, and Leadership

in Organizational Behavior, Risk Management
July 26th, 2010

 

Professor Kathy KramBoston University School of Management’s Kathy Kram offers insight into President Obama’s reactions to the BP oil spill in a recent interview with BU Today, Boston University’s online news source.  Kram, an Everett V. Lord Distinguished Faculty Scholar and Professor of Organizational Behavior, discusses the intersections of temperament, leadership, and public image, saying,

“Obama has a temperament that is grounded in getting all the facts and thinking decisions through rationally. Temperament is basically nothing more than a set of preferences for how one wants to be in the world.

“There’s a danger of doing something that’s not really you; you come across as inauthentic and you lose credibility, too. “ 

–Professor Kathy Kram

“In Obama’s case, the negative response is, where is his anger? Why isn’t he acting faster? Those responses are coming from people who might have different temperaments themselves or would have wanted a leader to act differently than Obama did. But I take the position that it’s really not a matter of right or wrong temperament. It’s what do you have to work with and whether it works for you most of the time.

“I would want him to be aware of the downside of not expressing his emotions — i.e., losing the support of some of the public. Then he would have to figure out if there’s a way for him to do that without seeming inauthentic or ineffective. There’s a danger of doing something that’s not really you; you come across as inauthentic and you lose credibility, too.”

Read more, in the article “Is Obama Angry Enough?,” by Leslie Friday, BU Today, July 7, 2010