Trump: a lesson for leaders by Debra Fraser
Yes, leaders, let’s go there.
But before we do, remember this: We are all students of life, and as leaders, it is crucial for us to lead a learning lifestyle; that practice of learning from everything — the good, the bad, and the ugly. To have times of reflection when you evaluate the bigger picture — causes and effects — so that you can see what changes are required to ensure success. To create smart strategies to break cyclical errors and recognize, even prompt those ‘aha’ moments on how to standardize best practices for sustainable profitability. All of this is learning at the leadership level and forms the basis for continuous improvement in any sphere of life. Your ability or inability to learn impacts you, your teams, and all those within your scope of influence.
So, what then can we learn from The Donald?
Regardless of whether you are a Trump fan or not, one thing is undeniable: his actions and characteristics are nothing shy of incredibly bold! Here’s how Wikipedia defines this characteristic: it is “the quality of having a strong, vivid, or clear appearance”.
Boldness is about the energy and conviction you portray to those around you. It is what draws people’s attention to buy what you are selling. It is Usain Bolt’s jig at the build-up to a 100-metre race, and the swagger in Barack Obama’s walk.
It smells like confidence (though it can be a sign of its deficiency) and thus is prone to popularisation even if it is devoid of integrity, truth, or effectiveness. But even while it may be completely disconnected from values, boldness sill retains its powerful impact.
Let’s jump from one extreme (politics) to the other (religion). The book of Proverbs 28:1 states: “The righteous are as bold as a lion.”
A simple definition of righteous: rightness, or consistently doing what is right, yet another leadership discipline. Regardless of your religious persuasion, this verse is a challenge to leaders – especially middle managers.
Have I chosen the right job that suits my natural gifts, passion and purpose? Am I making the right decisions for my team and company; choosing the longer, tougher path in order to ensure success? Am I doing the ethical thing even when noone is watching? And finally, when I am practising ‘rightness’, am I doing so with boldness? Am I confidently representing what my team is all about; creating my own jig and swagger?
With our Government’s aggressive 2020 economic goals just ahead and in anticipation of the associated learning that will accompany this challenge, let us as leaders become bold about what we are in fact doing right.
Until next time, leaders keep lookin’ up!
Debra Fraser, MBA is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions; board member of the Business Process Industry of Jamaica; member of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica; and member of the Society of Human Resources Management in the US. Please direct comments to firstname.lastname@example.org