Is Donald Trump a leader? The answer leaves no room for doubt: NO. But it’s not as if Europe has good examples of leaders, be they businessmen, private citizens or leaders. In general, we suffer from a worrisome deficit of leadership. This leadership deficit is most strongly felt in the failure to take decisive action and in an overly optimistic view of reality. It is true that Donald Trump seems to take unguided decisions, more than one of which has entailed an alarming fall in global standing, trade power and influence relative to foreign powers like China. These decisions demonstrate a lack of perspective and a failure of visionary diagnostics.
Another characteristic of Donald Trump’s pervasive failure to lead is his stubborn insistence on acting like a private citizen and not like a president. Trump can dole out statements that would be unspeakable for other political leaders because they represent a complete lack of respect for prudence insofar as it applies to executive authority, and scorning authority or refusing to treat it with the appropriate sobriety only serves to obstruct access to leadership.. Furthermore, he appears to look down on all of the work that comes with being a leader.
Donald Trump has power, but no authority, and an ever-diminishing sense of moral conviction; that is to say, credibility and blind faith in what he does on the part of his constituents. This all leads to a worsening of the American global image.
A good leader is someone who helps the organization he represents grow, someone who serves rather than being served. He is someone who creates culture based on values. If one wants to lead a country like a business this concept is important. In business leadership theory, organizational culture is defined as the set of values, beliefs and ideas that guide the organization to specific, achievable and clearly-explained goals. A strong organizational culture helps employees grow and engage with the company’s objectives. For this to be possible, they need to be driven by centrifugal forces that open doors, not centripetal ones that close them. If you never open the windows in a house, the air becomes unbreathable, and the same is true in politics and the business world.
Donald Trump’s direction is driving the country in a centripetal manner and, although this might work well in the short term, it will backfire in the end. Leading is the opposite. Leading is working towards something, building bridges of opportunity between today and tomorrow. Leading means not thinking about oneself. Egocentricity is incompatible with any type of leadership. A good leader has to behave with a great amount of altruism and rigor, taking equal stock of the consequences of what they say and what they do.
To lead means to think before you speak, and on occasion, to not do what you want because the repercussions could be disastrous. To lead is to have an overall plan for the organization you are leading, whether that be a town, a country or a business. That entails accepting the diversity of those in your command, and employing your own talent to help them grow.
For the moment, what we see from Donald Trump doesn’t follow these rules; as an example, we can refer to his famous slogan “America First” or, as he seems to interpret it, “Donald Trump first.”
The worst part is that Donald Trump doesn’t seem at all interested in leading, and seems to prefer playing at directing in a personal and impulsive way.