Romney, NAACP Boos & Leadership Communications

How should leaders communicate effectively when facing negative reaction?

Earlier today, Mitt Romney told the NAACP that he was going to eliminate Obamacare, for which he was booed by some in the audience. The Republican candidate for President of the United States paused, then cited a survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that said 3/4 of businesses were not going to hire people under the new health care law. It was not a bad response/pivot to the boos — but Romney failed to acknowledge his detractors and made it impersonal when it was a golden opportunity to  make it more personal.  And that’s been a big problem for most of his campaign.

His opponent, President Obama, probably would have said something like, “Now, folks, I hear you and can understand your concern. So let me explain further.” I’ve seen him do that often and it works well.

A critical part of leadership is truly listening to concerns and showing empathy. It’s why some leaders shine in a crisis and others falter.

What do you think of Romney’s response and what does it say about him as a communicator?

Here’s a link to the video.  The remarks about healthcare come at the 11:25 mark of the video.

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