The Leading Edge - Are you listening Hillary? Maybe you should be.

Observing the presidential campaigns as an expert in emotional intelligence has been highly instructional about what does and doesn't work in terms of leadership.

One of the main appeals to Barack Obama is that when people interview or speak to him you experience him as hearing, listening, considering and then responding.  And for those people who feel they don't have the time to do that with people in their companies and lives, it takes all of about two seconds to do.

On the other hand when people interview or speak to Hillary Clinton you experience her as hearing and then responding.  She is very smart and a quick study, but it is easy to not feel listened to or considered when communicating with her.

Ironically, Bill Clinton had an incredible reputation for hearing and listening so deeply that when you were with him, you felt like the only person he was focused on.  I've spoken to arch feminists who wanted to dislike him for some of his acting out who say that the experience was utterly disarming and mesmerizing.  When Bill Clinton said, "I feel your pain," you actually felt felt, felt less alone, felt relief and felt hopeful.  It was a "contact high" to the nth degree.

Obama has similar qualities. And given the stress of the average American with financial, familial, health and war related woes.  Feeling heard, considered and felt by him may explain some of his appeal and the surge he is now experiencing.

I believe that in her heart Hillary has the desire to relieve people's stress and offer people hope, but unfortunately it doesn't come through in how she says what she says. 

I think the reason for that is that because he knows who he is, Barack is comfortable in his own skin and in building concensus to drive change whereas Hillary doesn't appear to know who she is and is not comfortable in her own skin.  Instead of driving to build concensus "the lady doth protest too much" and seems more about demanding she be taken seriously.



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  • chow tai tat

    In that case Denise , tell us what does Hillary promise us?
    What is so different between Hillary and Obama?

  • Denise Corcoran

    I agree that Obama is charismatic, a great listener and a great speaker. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all of us are swept away by his rhetoric and his "promise" for change. Words alone do not make great presidents or great leaders.

    My mom was a great listener and won the heart's of friends unlike anyone else. But she would have made a lousy President.

    I like Obama as a person. However he is way too "green," especially considering the serious threats and challenges this country faces both at home and internationally. Someday he will make a great leader. He's not ready yet.

    There is idealism and then there is blind optimism. His idealism and energy is his strength. His blind optimism is his weakness and could put this country in more serious harm than currently.

    I just read an article in the NY Times from a political analyst that mentioned if you take away Obama's "change" theme, his speeches are actually pretty bleak. I have followed like many the campaign for months and still don't know exactly how Obama's "changes" are that much different from Hilary's? Or even what exact changes he is "promising?" More importantly, is he preaching change for change sake or is it truly best for the country? Keep in mind: not all change is for the positive.

    In the 57 years that I have been alive, any real change that has happened in this country came about through grass roots efforts, not the government. Anyone that is counting on Obama to bring about change in this country will be quickly disappointed. Politics is politics and that is the one thing that will never change.