THERE are few better qualified than the Leader of the Free World to give advice on the challenges of being a good boss.

So it was lucky US President Barack Obama was on hand to answer Helen Vaughan-Evans' question at an event in London over the weekend.

The Oxford City Council employee travelled to the capital to take part in a 'town hall-style' session, as part of Mr Obama's recent visit to Britain.

Ms Vaughan-Evans, a flood prevention scheme project manager, asked the president what leadership skills he relied on most during his time in office.

"A thick skin is very helpful," Mr Obama quipped, after facing a barrage of criticism from Eurosceptic MPs for his comments urging Britain to remain in the European Union on Friday.

Speaking from the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley Hall, he added: "Anybody who wants to be a leader, I would advise to spend a lot of time thinking about 'how am I helping other people do great things?'

"Because as President of the United States I am dealing with so many issues and I can't be an expert in everything and I can't be everywhere.

"The one thing I can do is assemble a team of people who are really good and really smart... and give them the tools and help coach them so they can do a great job.

"Leaders who think their primary job is to make people do exactly what they want, as opposed to helping to organise really talented people to collectively go where we need to go, typically stumble."

Speaking to the Oxford Mail yesterday, Ms Vaughan-Evans, 29, said: "When he picked me I couldn't really believe it. I'd also almost lost my voice so I had to apologise for that but he was very kind.

"His answer was really good, very considered, and it didn't feel like he was just giving a stock reply.

"Barack Obama is up there among the best leaders for me because I can really relate to his journey.

"He started as a community activist and now he is in the White House, so he has a real grounding and sees issues and problems from a very human perspective."