BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A survey conducted by the University at Buffalo
School of Management that evaluated the leadership skills of
President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney has
found that Obama scored significantly better than Romney in most
leadership categories and in overall leadership skill.
Jerry Newman, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the
UB School of Management, conducted a nationwide survey of 250
professors specializing in American politics and the presidency. He
asked them to rate the two presidential candidates using the 10
leadership dimensions that are at the heart of the School of
Management's LeaderCORE™ program, a unique leadership
certification for UB MBAs.
More than 100 professors responded, rating Obama and Romney on
the 10 competencies of LeaderCORE: problem solving/decision making,
global and diversity mindset, strategic thinking, team leadership,
team skills, communication, interpersonal skills, integrity,
results orientation and self-management/adaptability.
"We put the candidates under the same LeaderCORE lens that we
use to assess our MBA students," says Newman, who initially
conceived the LeaderCORE program. "The students then use the
results to create their personal development plans."
The survey asked the professors to rate the candidates' skill
level in the 10 leadership competencies on a scale of 1 (well below
the average president) to 7 (well above the average president).
They also were asked to rank the candidates for overall leadership
using the same scale.
According to the results, Obama particularly showed strength as
a leader in global and diversity mindset, communication and
In fact, on seven of the 10 competencies, Obama's scores were
significantly better than Romney's. The only areas where there were
no significant differences between the two candidates were team
skills, team leadership and results orientation.
Respondents who gave a score of 1 or 7 on any dimension were
asked to give an open-ended example of what behavior led to that
"We've seen what a good presenter Obama can be," Newman says.
"But the professors also commented on his management of the
financial and automotive crises. Obama's ability to adapt in the
ever-changing landscape of health care reform and his stance on gay
marriage also earned him high marks in adaptability and results
In a final question, the respondents were asked to provide their
political orientation on a scale of 1 (very conservative) to 7
Seventy-four percent of the professors described themselves on
the liberal end of the scale, yet in a regression analysis, the
professors' political leaning was not a significant determinant of
how they evaluated overall leadership.
The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on
real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global
perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school has
been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Financial Times, Forbes,
U.S. News & World Report and The Wall Street Journal for the
quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides
its graduates. For more information about the UB School of
Management, visit mgt.buffalo.edu.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, a flagship institution in the State University
of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus.
UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests
through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional
degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a
member of the Association of American Universities.