Donald Trump Leadership & Life Lessons
Donald Trump is known for his eccentricity and unconventional businesses practices. He exhibits an unconventional leadership style. What specific lessons can we learn from his leadership?
Donald Trump has developed a reputation as the most controversial and divisive US president America has ever seen.
WarningActually, Donald Trump is in the unique position of having been a leader in both business and politics, so he must certainly be doing something right.
Like or loathe him there’s no denying that the current President of the United States knows how to communicate.
ImportantWith his performative speeches, the former businessman and Apprentice host has shown the world how to make more headlines than practically anybody else.
Leaders matter — especially when they are, simultaneously, exceedingly highly positioned and inordinately disruptive.
Trump sucks oxygen. He has wormed his wayward ways into our political system, into our culture, and into our collective consciousness.
Change happens when leaders know how to elicit emotion and catalyze action in an impactful way.
ImportantPeople want to know the secret to leading transformational change and shaping the future. And Donald Trump might contribute to their understanding.
We could definitely gain inspiration from Donald Trump’s journey to win the most important position in the world.
He has faced several obstacles and nobody felt he had any chance of winning the US Presidential elections.
Eventually, whether we view Donald Trump as a superhero or supervillain depends on whether we agree with his means of influence.
WarningPlease note that I am not writing this from a political perspective — I am simply sharing my thoughts about leadership and how I see Donald Trump stacking up.
Now, we’re not recommending a full on Trump-ification of your professional life, but here are some things you can learn from him that could be applied to your own career.
Own The Room
Personality matters — especially as apparent in temperament. By temperament I denote sense and sensitivity, security and stability.
Donald Trump reminds us that unlike bad leaders, good leaders are sensible in their approach to the issues they face.
ImportantThey are sensitive to the problems of others; secure in who they are; and stable in their response to the tasks with which they are charged.
Know your target audience and speak to them. Trump did this – to his credit – admirably.
His speeches and messages were simple enough to be understood by a child in primary school and he told those who were fed up of ‘other people coming in and ruining America’ what they wanted to hear. He kept it simple and he got his point across to his audience.
Words are powerful. They convey your message and influence the audience and its perception of you.
ImportantWord choice and arrangement need just as much attention as speech purpose and content.
Whatever you are speaking about, never let them forget your name.
WarningPeople have very short attention spans, so every time you communicate, you need to tell them once, twice, ten times what you want them to hear.
During the 1980s, Donald Trump was repeatedly ranked in the year-end polls of the most admired people in America. He had a strategy to seek attention and he implemented them well.
One of Donald Trump’s best trait is his ability to motivate and inspire people.
That’s what he managed to do with his ‘Make America Great Again’ campaign. It was this that connected him with his many voters in the 2016 presidential election.
People liked Trump’s simple speaking style — even his, at times, brutal honesty.
And you can imagine how people were motivated by his confident and aspirational speeches, using strong words like ‘winning’ and ‘incredible’ to get people to believe in him.
Trump The Truth
The Trump administration has come under fire for playing fast and loose with the truth at times. Flare-ups have included Trump’s untrue or unverified claims about the murder rate, voter fraud, or the alleged wiretapping of Trump Tower.
Some of Donald Trump’s claims have been defended as rhetorical and not meant to be taken literally.
ImportantSocial networks give people news that is popular and trending rather than accurate or important.
The term “truth decay” has joined the post-truth lexicon that includes such now familiar phrases as “fake news” and “alternative facts”.
WarningDonald Trump lies so prolifically and with such velocity that the Washington Post calculated he’d made 2,140 false or misleading claims during his first year in office – an average of 5.9 a day!
Polarization has grown so extreme that voters have a hard time even agreeing on the same facts.
ImportantDonald Trump infuses polarizing words and language into debates to rile up opponents so they’re more likely to respond emotionally and with equally polarizing language.
Donald Trump’s assault on the very idea that truth and facts aren’t partisan positions has effectively changed the rules by which he is judged by the public.
Donald Trump’s oft-repeated “fake news” mantra, which is beloved by his base, doesn’t mean what it purports to mean.
“Fake” news is news that Trump either doesn’t like or is unfavorable to him. That he has co-opted the term “fake” for that sort of news, and that so many of his supporters believe it, tells you all you need to know about his strategy.
Donald Trump is often said to have ushered in an era of post-truth politics.
ImportantEver greater sections of the population are ready to ignore facts, and even to accept obvious lies willingly. Not the claim to truth, but the expression of the ‘felt truth’ leads to success in the ‘post-factual age’.
Overconfidence Doesn't Kill
You might argue that Donald Trump is arrogant and could, perhaps, even be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.
Regardless of your viewpoint though it takes a confident person to be able to lead others effectively.
Even after being saddled by allegations ranging from mafia ties to unscrupulous business dealings, Donald Trump has confidently steered towards a landslide victory in the Presidential Elections.
Self-confidence can fight any criticism!
ImportantDonald Trump is able to deflect criticism by redirecting the focus onto a problem with, or deficit in the criticizer in order to put them on the defensive and shift attention away from the original issue.
It makes perfect sense for us to select confident people as leaders. All of us want leaders who know what they’re doing.
The attraction of his confidence was strong enough to draw voters away from the guidance of nearly every newspaper in the country.
During 2011, at the White House Correspondents’ dinner, Barack Obama ridiculed most of Donald Trump’s jokes. Despite being the laughing stalk, Donald Trump took it in good spirit. To cover up his embarrassment, he only said, “Oh, it wasn’t so bad. At least he was talking about me.”
The importance of self-confidence in leadership cannot be overemphasized.
WarningIf you lack self-confidence, it means that you are your number one detractor. And it’s so bad for business.
Confidence can be a useful quality for leaders to demonstrate when they wish to gain stature, credibility and influence.
ImportantFinding the balance between leveraging the benefits of acting confidently and avoiding the dangers of overconfidence is crucial.
Never Leave The Battlefield
Undoubtedly, Donald Trump has an amazing track record in business. Yes, he has had his bumps along the way, but that is simply the world of the entrepreneur.
No doubt he would need to have persistency in abundance to have achieved his business success.
Trump Tower, his biggest success took him nearly 3 years just to get a response from the landowner. He wrote letters after letters and made innumerable calls. There were more hurdles for him to build it but he never gave!
People who are driven set BIG goals for themselves and have high expectations for their own performance.
ImportantDonald Trump is no different in this regard. He has high expectations for himself and those around him and that is, at least partially, why he has been able to accomplish so much in his lifetime.
Never, ever, ever, give up! Don’t give in don’t back down and never stop doing what you know is right. Nothing worth doing ever, ever, ever came easy and the more righteous your fight the more opposition that you will face.
Donald Trump is antifragile. Antifragile does not mean not fragile. Rather, it means the opposite of fragile.
If fragility is something breaking when pressure is applied, then antifragile is not merely something that doesn’t break when pressure is applied. That’s called robust.
Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.
ImportantDonald Trump’s antifragility is born out of the chaos itself, and emboldened by his ability to claim that he is unfairly and relentlessly being attacked by his opposition.
Be Crystal Clear
You’ve got to admire Donald Trump for his use of simple language that anyone can understand. What he says is filled with emotion and this resonates with voters.
Whatever it takes, you will make your message consistent.
ImportantIt’s an old age communication lesson — keep your message to just a few points and keep referring to it over and over again no matter what happens.
Okay, perhaps Donald Trump pushed transparency to the extremes, but his base of support wasn’t diminished by speaking directly and candidly.
WarningMost organizations still have fundamental gaps in their communication and leaders have primary responsibility for ensuring that key messages get communicated.
In addition you can amplify anecdotes — use specific examples and stories to make problems appear much grander in scope and scale than they may really be in order to advance one’s ideology and agenda.
Donald Trump has clear priorities and does not mince his words.
Donald Trump has time and again spoken of the federal government’s duty to protect the rights of its citizens. This is why he has extended unwavering support to the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Donald Trump is unscripted and his tone is conversational.
He speaks with no notes and takes pride in the fact that he does not use a prompter. Which is in sharp contrast to many politicians.
ImportantRegardless of the size of the crowd, he intersperses his remarks with rhetorical questions and waits for an audience reaction.
This helps him to connect with the audience. It shows Trump’s authentic self.
Shake The Table
Donald Trump has been determined to put America’s interests first. For instance, he wants to limit immigration, re-negotiate international trade agreements to favor American workers and bring jobs back to America.
Donald Trump threatens the status quo.
WarningDonald Trump’s presidency is waking up Americans, including those in Congress, to the ills of unopposed expansion of executive power.
Donald Trump doesn’t allow traditions and standards to influence one’s agenda, but rather forge a new path that breaks from how it’s always been done.
Donald Trump has called for building a border wall and, ending sanctuary cities, sending criminal aliens home and welcoming the immigrants who embrace the American way of life.
Many people can feel a surge of gratitude towards a leader who breaks with some conventions with the aim of bringing more integrity and legitimacy to political life.
ImportantIn short, Donald Trump has placed a mirror in front of America and forced it to take a hard look and reassess how it values itself as a people and a nation.
With his controversial platform and passionate arguments, Donald Trump has been turning the presidential race upside down and introducing rebellious new ideas. While some may find Donald Trump amusing and entertaining, he represents a serious challenge to the status quo.
There is some pleasure and excitement that some people appear to find in a leader who breaks rules and ignores taboos.
ImportantThese transgressions can come in various forms, such as controversial statements, unconventional lifestyles or disrespectful approaches to traditional norms and processes.
Donald Trump knows his rhetoric is extreme and he knows it will turn some people on and others off.
The ones he turns on will go to him like a magnet and never leave. If he can prevent some of the ones who are against him from going to his opponent as strongly, he can really drive the numbers.
Donald Trump is not that much different than many of the effective leaders in the world. The amount of wealth he has and his personality are definitely differentiators, though.
His “in your face” style is off-putting to some but refreshing to others.
ImportantNo matter where you land, the fact remains that Donald Trump has been an effective businessman. We can learn something from everyone, even The Donald.
Donald Trump clearly has leadership skills or he wouldn’t have won this election.
He can read an audience better than most and yes, he is a dynamic and charismatic public speaker.
Leadership involves a relationship between leader and follower.
ImportantWe empower superheroes. And supervillains. It’s up to us to decide what type of change we want to see in the world and catalyze the leaders we will follow to get it.
Truly great leaders are constantly looking to improve themselves and grow.
To learn. To get better. To take a hard look at themselves. To be truly introspective.
Is President-Elect Trump capable of doing this? He hasn’t shown it yet, but I’m an optimist and believe that anything is possible. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!