State of RebukeJules Hirst
Effective leadership usually translates into success. Starting with a clear vision, the leader needs to make this vision known and drive his people to complete the vision. Along the way mistakes are bound to be made. A good leader can handle these situations and use them to strengthen the team. Humiliating a worker in front of all of his colleagues is the WRONG approach, but one recently used by President Obama during his State of the Union speech.
By expressing his displeasure with the Supreme Courtâ€™s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, President Obama violated political etiquette and scolded the justices of the Supreme Court while they sat in front of him. Not only were the justices scolded, but it was done in front of the entire legislative branch of the government and a national television audience.
The president and the justices do not have the traditional employer-employee relationship because the Constitution contains separation of powers safeguards to protect our democratic process. However, scolding them in such a public forum while they were in attendance was an action of an ineffective leader. President Obama does not have to agree with their decision, but he does have to respect it and his arrogant comments clearly show he does not. An effective leader would pull the employee aside and handle this situation quietly. Since the president cannot do this, a better forum for his comments would have been a press conference where he could have voiced his displeasure while not embarrassing anyone.
On the other hand, no employee likes to be publicly scolded, but when it happens the employee should not attempt to show up their boss. While President Obama was discussing the decision, Justice Samuel Alito was seen shaking his head and mouthing the words â€œnot true.â€ Once the Supreme Court has ruled on a case, the justicesâ€™ work is done and it is up to the people and the legislature to deal with the ruling. Justice Alito also violated political etiquette by failing to maintain the aura of impartiality and understanding that people are entitled to debate their decisions.
After an arduous first year in office, President Obama failed to display the qualities of an effective leader during his State of the Union speech. As the leader of the United States, President Obama should know better and proved it may well be three long years until we can have effective leadership.