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As the new year dawns, two leaders – President Barack Obama and USC Football Coach Pete Carroll – are characterized as failing to fully meet their objectives. President Obama is being criticized for security breaches in the wake of an attempted airline bombing. His handling of the economy and the health-care bill are also being questioned. USC football is coming off a mediocre season (by school standards). Pete Carroll’s team won the Emerald Bowl and finished 9-4, the worst record since Carroll’s first year as head coach. While Obama’s popularity seems to be fading, Carroll’s is on the rise. The Seattle Seahawks courted, then hired, the coach to take over a professional program that languished the past two seasons. Examine the two leaders and draw some conclusions about the difference in reactions.


  1. Based on the information provided in the articles, identify each leader’s basic leadership style (note: the limited information provided in the articles is really not sufficient to make this determination). Do stylistic differences matter in terms of how others respond to what the leader is doing?
  2. Consider Figure 16.6. What does the figure suggest about the relationship between leadership style and leader effectiveness? What other factors influence a leader’s effectiveness? Identify specific factors that might relate to both Barack Obama and Pete Carroll.
  3. How do the special qualities of transformational leadership relate to President Obama and Coach Carroll and how they are currently being perceived as leaders?

SOURCES: J. Weisman, “Report Raises Pressure on Obama to Focus on Jobs,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

See also D. Everson & R. Albergotti, “USC Coach Pete Carroll Close to Deal to Join Seattle Seahawks,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

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