Full disclosure – there is absolutely no political agenda here.  This is not about the right vs the left or which candidate is best – it’s about leadership.   

It feels like every day Donald Trump makes new controversial headlines with quick sound bites and tweets.  I could literally go on.  And on.  And on.  

There is an interesting dichotomy happening here – people who like his blunt honesty and those who find it offensive.

This dichotomy says a lot about his polarizing leadership style.    

Good leaders lead.  They create a plan that is all inclusive and rally their followers, they develop processes to implement their plan, and they communicate the key points regularly and transparently.  

Donald Trump does none of these things. He is not all inclusive.  I don’t  hear any clear – and realistic – action steps for how he’s actually going to implement changes.  And he isn’t communicating clearly.  

He preaches unity and it seems he is doing everything he can to see it is not achieved. He has alienated Mexicans, Women, foreign leaders and even alienated many in his own party.  

Good leaders know how to rally the troops, unite the team, and drive the efforts forward –  not segment out portions of the population and brand them as something negative while pandering to other segments.  

Don’t laugh (unless it’s at Trump’s hair) – but there is a lot you can learn from Donald Trump.  To be a good leader – here are 3-key areas to focus on:  

Know the line between Trumpism and directness.

It’s ok to be direct.  It’s not ok to be offensive.  There is nothing wrong with being direct, to the point, and being a little edgey – but be respectful. Pushing boundaries is often how we evolve as a society – and organizationally.  But there is word out there that balances it out – it’s called diplomacy.  And calling Mexicans rapists and murderers and calling Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas not diplomacy.  In order to get people to listen (and follow) – you need to find a balance between standing your ground and being diplomatic. You need to find a balance of being direct yet respectful.

Don’t call women Pocahontas.  (Actually – don’t stereotype period)

Good leaders pay attention to – and show they value – the diversity of employees and customers. (And voters!)  If you want high engagement and performance (and votes!) – people need to feel as though you respect them and  “their full selves!”  So don’t assume or perpetuate stereotypes. In fact – the key to success is breaking stereotypical behavior and patterns.  Think outside the box and you’ll gain new followers who generate new ideas and a new vantage point that will help you succeed – long term.  

Share your vision, not the rhetoric.

Good leaders share their vision of the future – where they see the team going and how ‘we’ can get there together. They don’t set up scape goats and fall guys. They don’t withold information from their staff. Hurling nasty names is rhetoric, not a vision.  Rhetoric will get you headlines, it may get you followers, but only until someone better comes along.  Share what you envision as the end game.  Why is this necessary?  How will people benefit? What is the best way to solve the problem?  How can your followers help? And then obtain feedback about your vision and adjust as needed. Despite the title – leadership is not a one person show.

High performing leaders, teams, and individuals creatively and collaboratively solve issues and successfully implement solutions to achieve sustainable results.  In order for an organization (or a nation) to succeed – it must have strong leadership. It must have a leader who understands active and honest communication, and open collaboration. A leader who gets the concept of diplomacy and diversity.

But it all starts at the top.

About Scott Span, MSOD: is CEO & Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions – a Leadership Effectiveness & Strategy firm.  He helps clients in achieving success through people, creating organizations where people enjoy working and customers enjoy doing business. 

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