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Discuss about the Analysis Of The Leadership Traits And Qualities Of Lady Obama.

Leadership is both an art and science. According to Amanchukwu, Stanley and Ololube (2015, p. 10), Leadership is both an inbuilt quality and a development that a person can undertake. However, all leaders must possess certain traits and qualities which are extremely essential to become a good leader. These traits include characteristics like Personality, Charisma, empathy, courage, confidence and perseverance. The given essay throws light on the leadership traits of one such inspiring leader named Michelle Obama. Lady Obama is the wife of the former American President Barrack Obama and the First Lady of White. Through her hard work, intellect and personality she has portrayed herself as a true leader at various occasion. The essay analysis the various traits of a good leader and relates them to that of Obama. The latter half of the essay discuses two relevant theories related to the traits of a leader and how the qualities of Michelle Obama justify the definition of those theories.

The following section will be an analysis of the leadership traits and qualities of Lady Obama along with practical examples in order to further build the argument of her being an ideal leader.

Michelle Obama was not like another first lady that the White House had witnessed, her strong personality, capability to motivate and inspire was one of the most breathtaking points about her performance. During various instances, she went against the odds and took a stand for the correct action. For instance, during her speech at Tuskegee University she supported the black students and reminded them to stay strong at all times .Michelle has always taken a stance against various social issues without thinking about the various aspects of her status and that is what makes her of an extremely strong personality.

“All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do — that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be.” – Michelle Obama

One of the most essential qualities of being a leader is that the person who is a leader must be compassionate. Compassionate does not mean being more soulful towards something you love or do but being compassionate towards people from all walks of life (Bhatti et al. 2012). Michelle was a lawyer before becoming the First Lady of America and fought against injustice through addressing various social issues. She understood the importance of compassion and empathy in the various relationships to build trust among all.


The third critical leadership quality in Michelle Obama is confidence. She is extremely confident who portrayed her skill in various ways like giving inspiring inauguration speeches in order to give rise to courage among women and enhance their self esteem. One of the best qualities about Michelle has been that she has never shied away from expressing and rooting for what she believes. A leader without confidence will not be able to guide a team towards the success of the given goals of the organization ( 2018). With her skill of self confidence, Lady Obama has been able to set an example that voice matters and if someone powerful raises his or her voice for the correct motive, they have the ability to change the scenario.

Michelle Obama has a charismatic personality and the magic of captivating her audience during the various speeches she gives. The ability to engage the audience and make them feel important and motivated is the skills which are extremely important for a leader. She resonated these speeches using examples from her personal life and academic experience in a manner that inspired thousands of other women to compete well in life and standup for what they deserve.  During the reign of her husband, Barrack Obama she never lost her confidence and commented on the sexist remarks given by other politicians ( 2018). Some of her most engaging speeches have been the DNC 201 Speech, Internal Women`s Day speech and at Maya Angelou`s Memorial Service.

“You should never view your changes as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.”- Michelle Obama

The next important trait of a leader which is present in Michelle Obama is Perseverance.  Difficulties are often a part of life and it is during these times that a person`s skills and capabilities are tested (Donate and de Pablo 2015, p.365). It is during this time that the perseverance of person is tested. Michelle Obama showed a high level of perseverance by going against all the odds and achieving several milestones at the White House. She changed the norms by passing a bipartisan School Lunch program in order to provide free meals to poor children. She also launched a program like the Reach Higher initiate to encourage people to prioritize their education. Staying committed towards ones goals and determining the path of success is an essential quality of a leader (Matsa and Miller 2013, pp. 144-146). The art of perseverance is a quality which helps leaders in succeeding their business.


Another important quality in Michelle Obama is her inspirational aura. A leader should have a personality that inspires other people to perform well and overcome political transcended lines along with radical divisions (McKnight 2013, p. 103). Her career as the First Lady was contributed towards poverty, inequality and obesity. She was looked up to by millions and her inspirational quality bought about huge changes in the minds of the people and the various community members.

Without honesty, one cannot go a long way in a position like that of a leader. Michelle Obama believes in the same and was often heard saying in her speech that there exists no shortcuts in the process of achieving great milestones. It was observed that she showed her honest side to others and dedicated her time to various realistic social issues even before and after her husband`s tenure. A leader is required to be authentic and awe-inspiring (Northouse 2015, p. 265). These qualities went a long way to make her successful. She showed infinite amount of dedication each day and converted various successful programs with her persistent efforts.

A business environment is extremely competitive. A life of a leader is not easy and he or she has to go through various extreme situations (Parris and Peachey 2013, p. 382). However, one thing which was learnt from the tenure of Michelle Obama was her great performance under pressure. She portrayed herself in a respectful light at all times and under the scrutiny of a thousand followers. She has always believed that the manner in which one tends to carry themselves goes a long way in determining one`s values and composure, a quality which leaders must possess for the befit of the society at large.

A leader should not have a God like presence otherwise the audience in general may find it extremely difficult to associate with them (Van Wart 2014, p. 133).  A leader must be relatable to others. As a black woman, Michelle Obama narrated her stay at Princeton and reflected in how she was always made to feel like an outsider thereby relating to the experience of a thousand others going through the same aspect. She never detached herself from reality and always maintained her position with the people. The reason behind her success as a leader was the ability of various women to see themselves as Michelle and her daily struggles . Hence, Michelle Obama`s from the heart experiences and speech inspired and awed others which was a primary aspect of her success as a leader.


Time management was also another quality of Michelle Obama which made her extremely successful as a leader ( 2018). A leader has a wide number of aspects and duties; all of which need to be managed well and the time have to be managed effectively and efficiently (Chemers 2014, pp. 189-192).She successfully completed her duties as a mother and even remained focused on her duty as a social leader.

Lastly, as a good communicator, Michelle Obama was able to reach out to a million of hearts and be a favorite among one and all. The next section will be discussing the various theories and models related to leadership and how they outline the important traits present in a leader and their application to the qualities possessed by Michelle Obama.

A transformational leadership style can be referred to as one of the best leadership styles a leader whereby the leader visions a sustainable future and vision for the people (Parris and Peachey 2013, p. 386). Their acts and promises motivate people to act and achieve those dreams in order to build a successful society. The leadership style of Michelle Obama hence can be described as a transformational one whereby she has been successful in delivering excellence to the various people and helping them to understand the importance of honesty and integrity.

The trait theory of leadership states that the successful leaders in an organization share certain common characteristics and traits. According to Daft (2014, pp. 56-59), leadership is a theory that is inbuilt and cannot be developed. However Bolman and Deal (2017, pp. 209-211), states that leadership qualities can be developed over time. According to the Trait theories, good leaders have certain qualities like assertiveness and decision making which go a long way in leading others and helping them out. However, all of these traits are not inbuilt in a person and need to be built over time. Hence, as seen, these theory states down certain characteristics of leaders like consistency, honesty, time  management and others. As observed Michelle Obama, possesses all the essential qualities that were required in a leader. Various instances have reflected how Michelle Obama has got the qualities essential in a leader like honesty, sympathy and perseverance. Therefore, if judged on the basis of this theory, Michelle would ass as a perfect leader.

The next theory is the Behavioral Theory. The behavioral theory states that there are certain set patterns in which an ideal leader must behave. According to Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee (2013, pp. 200-205), the theory leaders are of three type’s leaders, autocratic, democratic and Laissez Faire leaders. These leaders vary in their leadership style with respect to the way they handle the members in a society. The autocratic leaders take decisions without consulting anyone (Fairhurst and Connaughton 2014, p. 20). On the other hand, the democratic leaders allow a certain level of input and walks along with the team members. Laiisez faire leaders on the other hand, do not interfere at all. According to Chaudhry and Javed (2012, p. 58), the manner in which the leader behaves tends to have a huge impact on one`s performance. Therefore, it is suggested that a leader needs to walk with people. Michelle Obama can be described as a democratic leader who walks along side her people and manages them effectively.


She has conducted various programs which have portrayed this side of her. According to Daft (2014, p. 199), Michelle Obama from time to time has portrayed her capability as a leader through programs like Let`s MOVE which was about bringing together various leaders to deal with the problem of child obesity. After that she launched Joining forces supporting the families of servicemen. Through her Reach Higher initiative she inspired many young people to complete their dream education program. Hence, from time to time Michelle has shown her capabilities as a true leader.

Therefore, from the given analysis it can be said that a leader is truly an individual who knows the way and shows the way. He or she must be an epitome of values, intelligence and positivity. The essay identifies the various qualities that a leader must possess and their application to the personality of Lady Obama. The latter half of the essay concentrates on various important theories of leadership and proves how according to them Michelle Obama, is an image of a perfect leader. After analyzing the leadership traits of Michelle Obama, it can be stated that she does possess all the essential qualities of a good leader and that under her leadership; the society of United States did progress well.


Amanchukwu, R.N., Stanley, G.J. and Ololube, N.P., 2015. A review of leadership theories, principles and styles and their relevance to educational management. Management, 5(1), pp.6-14.

Bhatti, N., Maitlo, G.M., Shaikh, N., Hashmi, M.A. and Shaikh, F.M., 2012. The impact of autocratic and democratic leadership style on job satisfaction. International Business Research, 5(2), p.192.

Bolman, L.G. and Deal, T.E., 2017. Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. John Wiley & Sons.

Chaudhry, A.Q. and Javed, H., 2012. Impact of transactional and laissez faire leadership style on motivation. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 3(7).

Chemers, M., 2014. An integrative theory of leadership. Psychology Press.

Daft, R.L., 2014. The leadership experience. Cengage Learning.

Donate, M.J. and de Pablo, J.D.S., 2015. The role of knowledge-oriented leadership in knowledge management practices and innovation. Journal of Business Research, 68(2), pp.360-370.

Fairhurst, G.T. and Connaughton, S.L., 2014. Leadership: A communicative perspective. Leadership, 10(1), pp.7-35. ,2018. Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Mar. 2018].

Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R.E. and McKee, A., 2013. Primal leadership: Unleashing the power of emotional intelligence. Harvard Business Press. ,2018. Michelle Obama’s 10 Most Admirable Leadership Qualities. [online] Inspiring Leadership Now. Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2018].

1, D.A. and Miller, A.R., 2013. A female style in corporate leadership? Evidence from quotas. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 5(3), pp.136-169.

McKnight, L.L., 2013. Transformational leadership in the context of punctuated change. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 10(2), p.103.

Northouse, P.G., 2015. Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications

Parris, D.L. and Peachey, J.W., 2013. A systematic literature review of servant leadership theory in organizational contexts. Journal of business ethics, 113(3), pp.377-393. ,2018. What we can learn from Michelle Obama about leadership | Salt & Shein. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Mar. 2018].

Van Wart, M., 2014. Dynamics of leadership in public service: Theory and practice. Routledge.

The articles marked in the given color are peer-reviewed articles…

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