What Trump Teaches Us About Leadership

Leadership | November 3, 2020

We’ve all worked with an executive, colleague, or even direct report that we find ourselves avoiding, for one reason or another.

(If we’re totally honest, sometimes we’re that leader, to someone else).

One of the most powerful conversations we have at MettaWorks with our clients is about this very topic: the leaders we avoid. It can become a veritable gold mine for enhancing the power of our own leadership.

First, it’s important to express all the reasons why you avoid that leader.

Maybe they “don’t listen,” have “sharp elbows,” or dominate the conversation when you interact.

In taking a cohort of tech leaders in our Next Level Impact program through this process, the example that came up for me, personally, was… our current President. (May he not be for long)

From the beginning of his rapid ascension to the White House, Donald Trump has drawn a polarized response from the public.

His presidency encourages racism, sexism, violence, othering, pointing the finger, and overall gaslighting. 

I find his style to be incredibly offensive and off-putting.

So what knowledge could I possibly glean from him?

Well, it’s also an undeniable fact that Trump has amassed fervent supporters. 

If I were to pick out one trait of his that I would like to possess myself as a leader, it would be this: his ability to spark loyal and enthusiastic followers at such a high volume.

Imagine, if as a leader, I had such a high number of deeply loyal supporters. 

Imagine if those supporters themselves became cheerleaders for my leadership and initiatives. Oh, the things I could do! The initiatives I could drive! The ways I could help make the world a better place! 

Think how useful this skill would be, vis-a-vis influencing your own circle of fellow leaders in your organization; team members and collaborators; as well as any other colleagues and stakeholders you interact with in your day-to-day

In other words, what can you learn from even the most difficult leaders in the room, to make YOU a better leader?

On one level, identifying the “leaders you would avoid” enables us executives to work better with difficult colleagues, clients, and leaders by opening up their perspective on that level.

On the next level, it makes us better leaders, when we can see all sides of a person, situation, or challenge—and learn from them.

By recognizing the distinction between the leader we want to avoid and the leader we want to emulate, we can take a step back and pull out the elements from both types and incorporate them into our own leadership style. 

By being able to clearly and logically separate the person from the skills and the traits, leaders take a big step closer to becoming the esteemed and capable person they know they can be and effortlessly earning the respect they deserve.

This action will help you not only better understand others and how to work harmoniously with people you see as difficult, but also to improve yourself and your skills as a leader in the process.

This level of emotional intelligence is absolutely learnable and is a cornerstone of our work at MettaWorks.

If as a tech leader you find yourself dealing with conflict in the workplace, we help take you shift your perspective, to find solutions.

Our expert team of coaches will lead you through a transformative process with innovative, people-centric methods and undiscovered techniques to harness the potent power of influence.

Book a discovery call with one of our coaches to realign your values with your mission and amplify your impact.

Rachel Rider
Executive Coach, Leadership Consultant