As one who is obsessed about all things leadership, I watched from the sidelines how President Donald Trump led the country and this comes with a few thoughts on the distinctive style of leading that permeated his term. Here are three of the leadership lessons observed from 45 politics aside.
How You Speak Matters
Yes, the language in which we speak is important especially as a leader. A leader’s language can make or break the morale of an organization or nation. The last administration is proof that words matter and that unfiltered words can be more divisive than unifying.
We look to leaders in times of crisis and hang onto their every word. An example of how words verbalized or not can affect those being led is how President Trump responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought more confusion than assurance.
A leader is ultimately responsible for building trust, engagement and comfort with spoken words and it’s one of the reasons organizations have public relations department, who work hand in hand with leadership in communicating important news to either the public or within the organization in times of crisis, so as not to muddle things up.
Yes, it is important to be flexible in life. Rigidity doesn’t do us much good. Leaders do have to be flexible in their dealings with peers including those who report to them and President Trump’s inability to be flexible even for small wins has made a lot of seemingly simple matters complicated.
A core character trait often sought in a leader is that of flexibility and a lack of this trait has been the undoing of many corporate leaders. These leaders tend to be close-minded and it’s their way or no way rigid approach to tasks or issues at hand that make it difficult for those that report to them.
Being flexible encourages diverse view points and allows a leader deal with the one thing that is constant in life change easily. With a character trait of flexibility, one is not bound by one’s own viewpoint only of winning at all cost, but can adjust and handle anything thrown at them. At any time, having a my way or the highway attitude sets the team up for failure in the long run even in simple family dynamics where for example, the father runs the risk of losing his family with that attitude.
Team Work Matters
Even as the leader of the free world, you need a team to carry out the rigors of running a country. It’s important to have an inner circle that will both challenge and cheer you. A leader that can’t work with a team that can challenge him/her is a failure.
A leaders’ position on teamwork will dictate success or failure. A leader that fosters teamwork inherently reaps loyalty, trust and respect. When the opposite is true the leader inherits a team that is individualistic thus creating unnecessary tension, distrust, inefficiencies and an unproductive work environment.
It’s the leader’s responsibility to ensure his/her team doesn’t fall apart and crumble under existing pressures, but we’ve seen throughout the presidential term of 45 how a lack of team work can breed so much distrust and everyone for myself mentality even within the inner circle.
Leading a team where there is no cohesiveness is stressful for the leader and can cause the leader to take actions that are not necessarily the greatest or best for the organization. Teamwork at the end of the day promotes strong working relationships and an ability to innovate faster as you get multiple perspectives.
No man’s an Island so the falsehood of I can do this (lead) by myself doesn’t get a leader very far.
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