The upcoming presidential elections in the USA can define the development of the country for the following four years. At the same time, taking into consideration the dominant position of the USA in the contemporary world, it is possible to presuppose that the policies conducted by the new leader of the nation will influence consistently the development of many countries of the world. In such a situation, the personal and leadership qualities of a new President of the USA are of the utmost importance because they will define the ability of the new President to lead the nation to changes which are vitally important for the normal functioning of American economy and preservation of the traditional American lifestyle and existing social order. In this respect, it should be said that Barak Obama has large chances to take the office after the Presidential elections which will take place this November. In fact, the new President needs to be able to face current as well as new challenges in order to succeed and help the USA to overcome the current crisis and economic stagnation. However, the economic crisis is only a part of problems the new President will need to solve since the international situation is characterized by an extremely high tension since the USA is involved in military operations in different parts of the world, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan and external threats to the national security persist. Obviously all these challenges imply that the new President should be a strong leader who is able to organize a team, his administration, and manage this team effectively in order to use the full potential of the new government to cope with all the problems and challenges the American nation will face, at least in the nearest future.
In fact, today, the role of leaders is extremely important for the successful performance of various organizations, while on the level of a state, the role of a leader becomes of a paramount importance. At the same time, the effective application of leadership qualities highly depends on the approach used by leaders to their associates and subordinates. Among the variety of approaches existing in the contemporary environment, transformational leadership is one of the most popular and widely spread approaches, which is considered by many specialists (Northouse, 2001) as highly prospective. In this respect, it is important to underline that the transformational leadership has not only benefits but it may have certain risks which can threaten to the normal development and performance of the organization, where this approach is applied, and therefore, these risks can influence the work of the team of the new President.
The backbone of the transformational approach is making an organization more successful by valuing associates of the leader. In such a way, the leader is able to develop positive relationships with his associates and, thus, improve the organizational culture at large. The importance of positive interpersonal relations between the contemporary leader and his associates can hardly be underestimated because the role of human resources has increased consistently in the contemporary business environment and, today, human resources constitute a significant asset of any organization.
In practice, this means that the new President should be able to build a team where he will appreciate each member of the team and where all people working together will realize their significance and responsibility for the future of the nation. At the same time, the transformational leadership can maximize the effectiveness of the work of each member of the team. The latter is particularly important because, in the contemporary world, a leader, such as a President of the USA, cannot solve all the problems alone and he cannot work on his own without the assistance of his administration. This means that members of the team headed by the President should be able to work autonomously, while the President should only define the strategic directions in which each member of the team should work. The President should be able to clearly set goals and assist each member of the team to achieve these goals, but, in terms of transformational leadership, the strict control is undesirable because it decreases the efficiency of work of the leader’s subordinates.
At the same time, through the development of positive interpersonal relationships with associates, the contemporary leader can implement the full potential of his leadership because associates, being highly valued by the leader, grow more confident in the leader and, simultaneously, they feel more responsible for their own performance. To put it more precisely, the associates do their best to maintain the positive performance in order to avoid changing the attitude of the leader and to feel valued by the leader (Dessler, 2004). In such a way, the associates are conscious of their importance to the organization and its leader.
At this point, it should be said that Barak Obama has already demonstrated his ability to work in a team and, what is more, his selection of members of his team are based on a profound analysis of the capabilities of each member of the team. For instance, the choice of the vice-president was determined by the fact that Barak Obama is not very strong in international relations. This is why he has chosen the vice-president who is experienced in international relations and, therefore, who can be very helpful to the President in the development of basic strategies of the foreign policy of the USA in the future, naturally, on the condition that Barak Obama will be elected the President of the USA. At the same time, Barak Obama does not simply use the members of his team in his interests, but he attempts to develop positive interpersonal relationships, which are very important for him. At least, such a conclusion can be made on the ground of Barak Obama’s refusal to choose Hillary Clinton as the vice-president. This step could probably increase his popularity and provide larger support, but, on the other hand, it is obvious that Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton could hardly develop positive relations because of their recent rivalry. Therefore, the application of the transformational leadership approach is possible and may be effective being applied by Barak Obama.
Furthermore, it is necessary to understand that the focus on the transformational leadership implies not only the formation of positive relationships with subordinates but also new responsibility of the associates. It is very important for the President to increase their productivity and effectiveness of their work that also produces a positive impact on the development and performance of the team headed by such a leader as Barak Obama, though the personality is not determinant compared to the ability of the leader to implement the concept of the transformational leadership in practice. In such a way, the transformational approach can be use effectively used in order to improve the relationship of the leader and his subordinates and to improve the performance of the team.
However, it is necessary to remember about certain risks that accompany the implementation of the transformational approach. To put it more precisely, the transformational leader can face a problem of the adequate treatment of him as a leader. What is meant here is the fact that often transformational leaders are perceived by their associates as personalities above all, while their leadership position is treated as secondary compared to their personal traits (Hesselbein and Cohen, 1999).
As a result, the leader can undermine his authority as a leader, while his personal qualities become of the utmost importance for his relationship with the associates. In addition, the application of the transformational approach may lead to the abuse of power. Using the transformational approach the leader can use his power to manipulate his associates, forcing them to do tasks as a personal service to the respectable leader. Alternatively, the associates can use their good relationship with the in their own interest to achieve personal goals. Such effects of the use of transformational approach may produce a negative impact on the performance of the entire organization.
Obviously, Barak Obama should take into consideration the possible difficulties and problems he can face while working with his team as the President of the USA. In fact, his position is very responsible and he cannot undermine the authority of the US President. Americans need to have a strong and respectable leader, especially in the time of crisis. They will readily follow such a leader that will facilitate the work of the new President of the USA. In contrast, if Barak Obama fails to maintain his authority and leadership, the confidence of his subordinates and Americans in the power and ability of the President to change the situation in the country for better will decrease substantially.
Hence, the chance of Barak Obama to be reelected and continue his policies will decrease respectively.
Nevertheless, the aforementioned difficulties the transformational leader can encounter while applying the transformational approach, it is still possible to overcome all these problems through the use of various factors that can be applied in terms of the transformational approach. To put it more precisely, the transformational leader can have an idealized influence on his associates. In such a context, the leader is an exemplary model for his associates and it is up to the leader what model his associates learn. In other words, if the transformational leader does not abuse the power and shows a positive example than his associates are likely to follow this positive example and they are likely to follow his model of behavior in their professional work. At the same time, it is important for a leader to keep distance between him and his associates in order to maintain formal relationship. In fact, interpersonal relations should be rather intertwined into professional relations than substitute them that will lead to the perception of a leader’s personal trait as superior to his leader’s trait.
At the same time, Barak Obama will need to be able to extrapolate his leadership qualities and leadership style on the entire nation. In this respect, it is very important for the leader to be able to create a positive public image and become closer to ordinary Americans. In fact, Democrats have proved the fact that they are traditionally oriented on the liberalization and democratization of relations between citizens as well as between citizens and state. In this regard, the major candidates from the Democratic Party may be viewed as a serious challenge to Republicans’ conservatism (Rutenberg, 2008). In fact, from the beginning of the presidential campaign Barak Obama took the lead in the race and in a relatively short period of time his leadership grows stronger and his chances to win the Presidential campaign are recognized by the majority of specialists, though no one can tell for sure that he will win the elections.
However, the current competition between John McCain and Barak Obama is very close and it is not only because of the high degree of competition and extremely high tension between candidates but also because of the candidates themselves. What is meant here is the fact that whatever the candidate wins the presidential campaign from either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party he will be the unique candidate. To put it more precisely, the win of John McCain will means that he will be one of the most experienced Presidents of the USA, due to his age. As for Barak Obama, his victory will mark the victory of the first African-American and non-white person that can become the candidate in the presidential elections of 2008. Obviously, he can use this unique characteristic to show American people that he is very close to average Americans and that he highly appreciates all of them. Moreover, Barak Obama will also need to demonstrate that he appreciate the contribution of each American in the formation of the national wealth.
At the same time, to become the leader of the nation and show that he does appreciate all Americans, Barak Obama will need to demonstrate his understanding of the basic responsibilities he will face as the President of the USA. In the contemporary world one of the major responsibilities of leaders is the concern about the environment. In fact, the problem of the pollution of environment is one of the major challenges the contemporary society has to cope with, but it is obvious that without an effective leadership people will more likely destroy the planet than preserve its natural environment. In such a context, leaders on both political and economic levels should focus their efforts on the protection of environment. To put it more precisely, it is necessary to develop and implement environmental programs that could reduce the negative impact of human activities on the environment. For instance, it is possible to direct common efforts on the development of new technologies and search of alternative, renewable source of power, which could be used in transport and industry. In such a way, it will be possible to reduce the emission of CO2 and other dangerous elements.
Obviously, Barak Obama cannot ignore environmental issues because they are very important for the nation as well as for the entire world. At this point, it is necessary to remind the fact that the USA have not signed the Kyoto protocol yet, while the country remains one of the leaders in the pollution of the environment. Hence, one of the primary challenges Barak Obama will face as the President of the USA is the reduction of the pollution. It is worth mentioning the fact that Barak Obama has already underlined the necessity of the limitation of the emission of dangerous elements as well as he insisted on the wider implementation of alternative sources of energy and environmentally friendly vehicles instead of conventional cars.
The present epoch seems to be the perfect time to introduce environmentally friendly technologies and minimize the emission of dangerous elements into the atmosphere. Moreover, it is possible to decrease the consumption of fuel and emission of CO2 because the USA faces an economic crisis which forces Americans to buy less fuel-consuming cars. Consequently, Barak Obama can use such a situation to introduce legislative changes which could stimulate the production of hybrid vehicles and the wide use of alternative sources of energy, such as solar power. As the President, he can suggest the introduction of some fiscal preferences for companies and individual implementing alternative sources of energy and environmentally friendly technologies.
Another important problem of the American society can face today is poverty. In fact this is a global problem.. At the present moment, even the most developed countries cannot totally solve the problem of charity, while in developing countries the overwhelming majority of population lives in poverty. In addition, there are different categories of people that cannot take care of themselves and need the support of healthcare and social services, for instance, disabled people and the old generation. At the same time, society cannot effectively use its material resources and organize social services to improve the position of people who are deprived of equal opportunities either because of their poor health or poor socioeconomic position. In such a situation, leaders should focus on charity and get ready to organize the effective system of redistribution of wealth in such a way that all categories of population could have possibly equal opportunities.
In such a situation, Barak Obama needs to concentrate his attention on the problems of the middle-class and in his presidential campaign he has already repeatedly laid emphasis on his concerns with the middle-class. In fact, he suggests easing the fiscal pressure on the middle-class, which needs the support of the government and which is able to accelerate the economic development of the country, if the middle class suffice financial resources to achieve this goal. Obviously, the decrease of fiscal pressure can improve the financial position of the middle class.
Finally, on the international level, Barak Obama will face very serious challenges. In fact, the presence of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is not supported either by the American population or by the local population. As a result, he will need to draw back American troops or change the public opinion about the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the role of American troops in these countries. However, it is necessary to remember that such a strife for war proved to be disastrous for the popularity of George W. Bush and the support of his policies by American people.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it possible to conclude that Barak Obama, being a probably winner of the upcoming Presidential elections, can apply transformational leadership approach in order to achieve positive results. It should be said that the application of transformational approach may be very prospective for the improvement of the performance of the organization and organization culture, but it is important to apply this approach very carefully in order to avoid its possible negative effects. On the one hand, the transformational approach can contribute to the improvement of interpersonal relations of the leader and associates. This approach can equally improve the productivity and effectiveness of work as well as it can improve the organizational culture at large. On the other hand, the transformational approach can face serious problems such as the problem of the lack of the authority as a formal leader and the development of informal, interpersonal relations with associates. In such a context, the ability of the leader to apply the transformational approach effectively is crucial for the improvement of the organizational performance. Obviously, the new President will need to overcome multiple challenges and problems, but his leadership qualities and the use of transformational approach can help him create an effective team and increase the confidence of Americans in his ability to lead the nation to a better life.