Study Post: 2011 Leadership in Review

Happy New Year! Its been a little while since my last post, I was able to take some time to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. I hope that you have had a great holiday season as well.

I thought it would be appropriate to start the new year out with a discussion about the leaders and leadership we saw in 2011. Sadly there are a lot of leadership blunders that stick out to me and I hope you can think of great leadership examples in the last year to share. Without being too opinionated, here we go:

Easily the biggest headline of 2011 (for Americans anyways) was the death of Osama Bin Laden. In a very calculated operation, President Obama took an extreme gamble and sent Navy SEAL Team 6 into Afghanistan. The way that Obama managed the situation and addressed the world that fateful Sunday night, he united an extremely divided nation and brought back a sense of national pride that we had not had in almost a decade. Unfortunately, 2011 also saw the lowest approval rating of Obama’s tenure just a few months after he united everyone in celebration.

2011 was open season in the Republican Party. Gearing up for the 2012 primary, many candidates threw their hats in the ring to win the GOP nomination.  The short and the sweet of it is that pretty much every candidate used the opportunity to say something they shouldn’t have. Political headlines noted the constant changes in public opinion of each candidate as well as their blunders. Politically, we saw many examples of poor leadership in 2011.

On the sports side of the world, leadership was also notably absent. 2011 saw both the NFL and the NBA enter into lengthy labor disputes between team owners and the respective players’ labor unions. While the NFL was able to settle on an agreement without losing any regular season game, the NBA missed several months of games. Both sides had relatively legitimate claims, but it is disappointing to see such wealthy individuals arguing over 1% of profits. Where was the leadership?

Finally, 2011 saw the passing of a man who has become regarded quite highly as a leader in the world of innovation. on October 5th, we lost Apple’s visionary leader Steve Jobs. Jobs was a shining example of entrepreneurship and creativity. As founder and CEO of Apple, Jobs created a new line of technology products that appeal widely to consumers and have become the definition of “cool”. Jobs created Apple, was eventually fired, and returned to make it what it is today. While his passing is certainly unfortunate, it provided us the opportunity to reflect on his accomplishments and his insights. One of the gifts I received during the holidays was a recently published biography of Jobs, I look forward to reading it and sharing a detailed post in the future.

In closing, I hope that I have inadvertently overlooked some great leadership moments of 2011. I look forward to seeing what 2012 brings and continuing to explore the subject of leadership and its application in every day life.

“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.” –Steve Jobs, 2003

Steve Jobs quotes

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