Barack Obama

Barack Obama’s Leadership Style

September 8, 2012

A psychological profile of U.S. President Barack Obama, developed at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics during Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, reveals that the president is a highly confident, moderately accommodating and deliberative, somewhat reserved personality type best described as a confident conciliator.


Click on image for larger display

As shown in the pie chart above, Obama is primarily an Ambitious-confident personality, complemented by secondary Accommodating-cooperative, Conscientious-respectful, and Retiring-reserved features.

Obama’s personality profile provides a stable framework for anticipating his likely leadership style as president if reelected. Following is a political-psychological prognostication of a prospective second-term Obama presidency, as reported in the St. Cloud Times.


Obama is a ‘Confident Conciliator’ (Aubrey Immelman, St. Cloud Times, Sept. 8, 2012) — At the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte N.C., former President Bill Clinton on Wednesday put Barack Obama’s name in nomination for reelection as president with an impassioned plea that Americans renew Obama’s contract for four more years. For those voters who have yet to decide whether to let Obama keep the keys to the White House or send him packing, here’s a primer in political prognostication: past is prologue; and personality drives behavior. … Full report


Click on image for larger view (Not part of St. Cloud Times article)


Full research report

The Political Personality of U.S. President Barack Obama
(Paper presented at the 33rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, San Francisco, July 7-10, 2010)

2010-07_Immelman-Suedfeld (cropped)
Presenter Aubrey Immelman and discussant Peter Suedfeld
(Photo: Irina Rogozar-Kolpakova)


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A Key to Success for Obama? (March 17, 2009)

Obama’s Decision-Making Style (Nov. 25, 2008)

Barack Obama’s Personality Profile (Nov. 2, 2008)

Obama Set to Change Course

Barack Obama: A Question of Toughness


Students Present Research at State Capitol in St. Paul

Minnesota private college students present their scholarly research in the Capitol rotunda.

Minnesota private college students present their scholarly research in the Capitol rotunda. (Photo: Melissa Kaelin)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Feb. 20, 2009) — Sarah Moore and Angela Rodgers, students at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., presented their research on “The Personality Profile of President Barack Obama: Leadership Implications” at the 6th annual Minnesota Private Colleges Scholars at the Capitol event, Feb. 19, in the State Capitol rotunda, St. Paul, Minn. … Full story


Related reports on this site

Book review: ‘Inside Obama’s Brain,’ by Sasha Abamsky (Steven Levingston, Washington Post, Feb. 14, 2010) — Sasha Abramsky promises us a glimpse in “Inside Obama’s Brain.” He tells us right away what his book is not: It’s not a biography, not political history, not inside-the-Beltway prattle. It is, he says, “a psychological profile writ large.” … By the end of the book, Abramsky admits he hasn’t discovered any one thing that explains the question he set out to answer: “What makes Barack Obama tick?” Obama, he realizes, is — guess what? — “a powerfully driven man, ambitious, intelligent, and charming.” … Full story


Shutdown threat tests Obama leadership style (Dan Balz, Washington Post, April 7, 2011) – This has been a season of leadership tests for President Obama. From Egypt to Libya and now the budget, he has been called upon to deal with rapidly unfolding events, and the questions about his leadership style have followed a consistent pattern. Is he too slow to react? Is he diffident in the face of serious challenges? Is he reluctant to exercise the full powers of the presidency? Would events have turned out differently had he moved with greater force earlier? If Obama has shown anything in his two-plus years in the White House, it is a combination of substantive ambition and procedural caution [emphasis and links added]. Add to that an innate distaste for ideological confrontation and his dislike for the demands of the 24/7 news cycle that often rules Washington’s political community. … Full story


Personality and politics: Obama for and against himself (Benjamin Knoll, Ph.D., Information Knoll blog, Feb. 5, 2012) — The author provides an overview of Obama’s key personality traits and then attempts to explain the key decisions of the Obama presidency in light of those traits. In a nutshell, Wayne describes the following personality characteristics: … Full report