5 Leadership Lessons Learned From the 2012 Debates
The two men who have been vying to lead this country have given us many lessons during the debates, some more obvious than others. These lessons have been both good and bad, although it seems that they have typically been what not to do.
First, everybody is worth your time, and nobody should be written off and disregarded. This was shown during the first debate, when Obama barely even showed up. It was evident that he felt that the debate was a mere formality before his reelection could become official. He was dead wrong, because Romney showed up to win, and had the President on his heels all night long.
Second, you're never to good to prepare. Romney spent weeks fitting practice time into his campaign schedule, and it showed. Obama, by contrast, called his preparation "a drag," because his staff was "making him do his homework." It was emphatically visible, when Romney showed up with statistic after statistic, study after study, that he had prepared to become the President, while Obama apparently felt that he didn't need to get ready to defend his title...
Third, play to win. Obama apparently felt that his campaign was so out of reach that he didn't need to take Romney seriously, and thought he could play not to lose and run out the clock, so to speak. On the second debate, it was apparent that Obama was playing to win this time, after Romney had evened the score. Romney had played to win from the start, making it difficult for Obama to get his momentum going again.
Fourth, being aggressive can be good, but it has it's collateral damage, too. Biden's rude and arrogant dismissal of Ryan was very poorly received, and the constant attacks that Obama and Romney have leveled at each other are appealing only to the base, not to the undecided or more moderate voters who want a respectful leader.
Finally, this election has been almost fact-free. Both candidates have been saying whatever they feel is necessary to get elected. Neither has really gained the trust of the American people, in large part because of all the shifting views, outright lies, and changes in position, and subsequent denials of the previous position. This is particularly true with Romney, who was governor of Massachusetts, one of the most liberal states in the country. He has had to change some of his positions to appeal to the broader conservative base, and instead of plainly saying that his views have changed, and that he is representing the views of his party, he has denied his previous positions.
Leaders should beware of these mistakes. It's easy to make these mistakes when dealing with competitors and prospects. In all things, be honest, be respectful, and do your homework.
Source - Government Executive