Leadership Lessons from... Presidential Toys

If you had the ability to ask John McCain and Barack Obama just one question, what would it be? Would you query them about their economic policy? The War in Iraq? Education? Taxes?

Even with all the accusations of media bias swirling around this election, I’m not afraid to ask the really tough question: Which toy best represents each candidate’s leadership style?

 

For John McCain, the toy that best represents his leadership style is Weebles®.

Weebles® teach a valuable lesson in endurance – specifically that for the successful leader staying down is not an option.

John McCain has endured a multitude of trials and bounced back each time. Here are a few of those notable troubles:

In 1967 he was struck by fragments and nearly died in the USS Forrestal fire when a missile misfired and shot across the flight deck hitting his plane. The ensuing fire killed 134 men and injured 161 more.

In October 1967, while on a bombing mission over Hanoi, he was shot down, badly injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese. As a prisoner of war he endured torture and mistreatment until his release in 1973. His wounds left him with lifelong physical limitations.

In 1989, he was one of five US Senators accused of improperly intervening in on behalf of Charles H. Keating, Jr., chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which was the target of a federal regulatory investigation. Though McCain was cleared of the curruption charges, he admitted that he used poor judgement.

In each case, John McCain never wasted a hardship but rather he learned from it and used it to become an even stronger and wiser leader.

For Barack Obama, the toy that best represents his leadership is the Lite-Brite®.

Lite-Brite® vividly teaches the lesson that to get your message across you have to illuminate to communicate.

Obama is a master of crafting and delivering this type of bright, clear message.

During the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he wrote and delivered such a powerful keynote speech that it thrust him into the national political spotlight overnight.

He won the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination as an underdog and today leads in most national poles, largely by repeating that same message of change. This message is clear and concise and resonates with the audience not only in the US but also around the world.

Whether he wins Tuesday or not, Barack Obama’s message will be around for years to come.

I hope these toy metaphors help you to better understand the two candidates. Most of all, remember that regardless of who you plan to vote for or even which toy you relate to – just vote.

To learn more about Weebles® and Lite-Brite® or to find out how toys can teach leadership, check out Toy Box Leadership: Leadership Lessons From The Toys You Loved As A Child.

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