Barrack Obama and Mao Zedong are two leaders who will be remembered for their charismatic leadership and idealistic principles. Their leadership skills have contributed to reaching of national recognition. Barrack Obama illustrates integrity and sincerity of purpose through his lifestyle. Through his values embedded in his humble background, he proclaims a conviction that a blessed life should be lived in service to others (President Barrack Obama, 2012). Obama’s enrolment in church based organization soon after graduation, as well as engagement in the Tenants Rights Organization, demonstrates his ideology of improving people’s lives. Mao Zedong, on the other hand, demonstrated integrity through his political policies. Being a Chinese revolutionary leader, Zedong waged guerrilla warfare and he won the battle. The communist ideology of Mao Zedong was based on providing a better living to the people of China as witnessed in land reforms, whereby he used force to evict feudal landlords and subdivide the land to the people (Wang, 1991). This paper, therefore, examines the autocratic and participative leadership styles demonstrated by Zedong and Obama respectively.
Obama carries the beacon of hope for people all over the world. His leadership skills demonstrate hard work and determination, which he lays as a foundation for the future generation. Reviving the American economy after the 2008 slump has positively influenced many Americans. President Obama has also fulfilled some of his promises such as the withdrawal of the American soldiers from the Middle East as well as the campaign for the health care bill. However, his leadership has been criticized because democracy has not been upheld, to implement budget issues, and a future economy. Unlike Obama, the dictatorship authority of Mao Zedong mainly influenced the peoples’ lives negatively. His failure to value human life, whereby between 40 and 70 million lives were lost during his rule, is viewed as one of his biggest failures as a leader. Zedong’s leadership style, therefore, contrasts Obama’s in the implementation of the ideologies. Zedong valued achievement of his goals without regarding support for human relationships while Obama’s leadership aligns tasks and human values. The impact of their leadership styles on people highly determines their legacy.
In this regard, Obama will be remembered in history as the leader who championed the healthcare system, revived the American economy, and terminated the American number one enemy, Osama Bin Laden. Strengthening ties between the US and the countries of the Middle East is viewed as suppressing a war waged by the republicans. On the other hand, people will also remember Obama’s failures, such as his inability to curb Wall Street corruption. Obama’s failure to back up his promises in the closure of the Guantanamo Bay, as well as passing of the military provision for imprisonment of Americans without trial, will also be contained in his legacy. Mao Zedong will be remembered for his efforts in ending the civil war that unified China. Zedong’s reign led to deaths of over 40 million due to famine and judicial killings. Zedong’s rule has, however, been accredited for laying a foundation for China’s modernization and industrialization. Unlike Obama’s legacy that is built on democracy, Zedong will be remembered for his authoritative leadership. This, therefore, points to the differences in their service to the people.
A notion “servant leader” refers to a leader who devotes all his life to serving the people. Barrack Obama can be termed a servant-leader: which is shown by his service to the community organizations; tenants’ rights advocacy as well as his work as a senator for the people of Illinois. Mao Zedong’s leadership cannot be termed as servant leadership since his rule was based on dictatorship. His campaigns did not reflect service to his people as they were set on self-political ambitions. As a participative leader, Obama pushes for his ideologies through interacting with his subordinates’. On the other hand, Zedong intimidated and threatened his subordinates’ into obeying his orders as evidenced in his speeches.
Zedong used his communication skills to instill fear into his followers and force them to support his ideas. Even when a lot of people died during the Chinese revolution, Mao Zedong noted that the country was populous and could do without a few people (Wang, 1991). On the contrary, Obama’s oratory skills call upon people’s actions by instilling hope as illustrated in his campaigns for the presidency. Obama’s speeches, for example, advocate for change that is to be passed on to the future generations. At the graduation ceremony, at Bernard College, Obama’s speech encourages the graduates to define their own future: “And that defiant, can-do spirit is what runs through the veins of American history. It is the lifeblood of all the progress. Moreover, it is that spirit which we need your generation to embrace and rekindle right now’’ (American rhetoric, 2012).
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The paper sought to examine the autocratic and participative leadership styles demonstrated by Zedong and Obama respectively. It is evident that participative leadership brings along integrity and charisma as demonstrated by Obama. Autocratic leadership demonstrated by Zedong, on the other hand, devalues human relationship clouding out any positive impact.Servant leadership, therefore, impacts positively on the legacy of the leader as compared to the autocratic leadership style.