Trump his Leadership Style

Several people have asked me to analyze the leadership style of presumptive President-Elect Donald Trump (I say "presumptive" out of respect for the electoral college process that has yet to take place).

To be honest, it's not an easy task.

I've not read much about Mr. Trump's personality, habits, or his business endeavors. In fact, my primary exposure to Donald Trump prior to the 2016 election process was watching several television appearances he's made via World Wrestling Entertainment through the years, including the "Battle of the Billionaires" that took place at WrestleMania 23 between Mr. Trump and WWE owner Vince McMahon and stipulated the loser would have to shave his head (it was, predictably, Mr. McMahon...I mean, can you even imagine Donald Trump with his head shaved!?!).

But, I guess that exposure is as good a place as any to ground my analysis.

In the personality workshops we conduct, I'd suggest Mr. Trump's two primary styles are Influencer and Dominant. He appears to be creative and expressive, seems to thrive on activity, and is willing to experiment, which are all traits that most Influencers carry. He also seems to share many characteristics associated with Dominants, including decisiveness, competitiveness, ambition, and confidence. Seems pretty consistent with the guy that dropped tens of thousands of dollars on a WWE RAW audience one night, personally took clippers to the head of Vince McMahon, and one-upped Mr. McMahon's use of the catch-phrase "You're Fired" by making it the central theme of his own reality show.

So, how will those styles inform his leadership?

Well, for good and bad, I think we've already seen it in action. Mr. Trump's successful campaign baffled the media and most of the public (myself included; I didn't see any viable path to victory for him), and that shows the best of his style - including his high levels of activity, his competitiveness, and his confidence. But, we've also seen the worst of his style manifested in catchy refrains that over-simplify complicated issues (e.g. "We're going to build a wall") and bold ideas that likely will have to be walked back significantly if they are to be implemented at all (e.g. repealing the Affordable Care Act).

To be fair, I see these same characteristics among some of the leaders I work with on a daily basis. They are able to connect with people and motivate them to pursue bold ideas, but they are often unrealistic about whether those ideas are achievable and, sometimes, they aren't the right ideas at all.

And that's where Mr. Trump's advisors will make or break his presidency in my opinion. If they can convince him to pursue the right ideas, he certainly has the ability to create enthusiasm about those ideas, and make some amazing things happen. If, however, they fail to get him focused on the things that really matter, I suspect we will see an endless cycle of bold claims that divide our citizenry, followed by periods of walking back on those claims, which will disenfranchise those who voted for him and create more distrust among those who didn't.

In conclusion, I hope the individuals who are chosen to serve will "trump" the weaknesses of his leadership style, in that they get Mr. Trump focused on the right issues and the right ways to approach them, and then encourage him to use his showmanship to galvanize activity toward the common good.