In 2015, Forbes ran an interesting article. It was called “5 Signs You’re Not Ready to Lead.” Apparently self-proclaimed genius and leader extraordinaire Donald Trump missed that issue of Forbes. It is understandable considering Trump likely waits — lather mouthed and sweaty palmed — by the mailbox for just one specific issue of Forbes each year: to see where he ranks on the list of richest people in the world and then pout and complain about fake data used to deny him the top spot.
Leadership is one of those inherently natural traits among humans. Like writing, music, and art, leading is an ability that is 90% unteachable talent and 10% guidance. Either most people have it or they do not. Unfortunately, for Donald Trump, he falls into the latter category — and like a teenage girl crushing on a boy band, he falls hard into non-leadership.
Throughout history, there have been different kinds of leadership models and there have been different types of leaders. Those with the most relaxed and humanistic methods are usually the most fondly remembered because they are also the most successful. They are the men and women of time who have the natural ability to share a moment, exhibit empathy, and relate to the plights of those they represent.
Then there are leaders recalled only in terrible history lessons for their forced methodologies, brutality, and selfish inability to show an iota of compassion. They are unfriendly and psychopathic in their tendencies and display the temperament of spoiled children throwing tantrums. Like Donald Trump, they lash out, call names, bully, and have no emotional regard or attachment for anyone else’s well-being.
Two years ago, Forbes described the five signs of someone not ready to lead:
- They do not own bad choices or decisions
- They think they are perfect
- They believe they know everything already
- They waste other people’s time
- They hire only people just like them
During the past ten months, Donald Trump has pretended to lead. However, he is as prepared to lead a nation, as December’s snowman is to mow a lawn. Anyone with half a brain watching the circus that surrounds Trump should be able to see that he is clueless about how to do the job that he so desperately paid for. He has proven time and again his blatant inability to meet any of the criteria suggested by Forbes.
Only two weeks ago, during an on-camera White House roundtable, Trump proclaimed that Congress is not accomplishing anything. He followed this evident fact with a clarifying statement that he himself was not responsible. “I’m not going to blame myself,” he said in reference to Congress’ failings. Imagine a Boy Scout leader dropping the matches in the river and then telling his charges that he is not to blame for their hypothermia. It is simply not leadership.
Though there are many signs that may indicate a person is not ready to lead others, Forbes’ assessment of not owning bad results as the first contraindication is precisely Trump’s most damning shortcoming. A leader gains a position of authority and direction for the simple reason that he or she has the ability to inspire and guide others through any situation of either adversity or prosperity. True leaders do not accept accolades and usurp credit for themselves based only on positive results — they share every result. Trump only wants the fame, recognition, and adoration on sunny days, but turns his back on America every time it rains.
Trump’s inability to accept bad results lies in the next two traits described by Forbes. He thinks he is perfect and already knows it all. Listening to Trump speak sometimes is like listening to that kid everyone knew in fourth grade who had an answer for everything. That prepubescent little snot grew up to be Donald Trump — and he still thinks he is the best kickball player ever, makes up words to prove his stories, and will never be denied his self-imposed titles and superlatives.
People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.
Three weeks ago, the 71-year-old elementary school bully had to prove his intelligence by squaring off in a geriatric pissing match over IQs with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. This week, Trump attacked Florida Senator Frederica Wilson and forced his chief of staff and one-time general to debase himself and his former uniform by propagating baseless lies — simply because Trump cannot stand to be wrong or imperfect. At some point, one expects Trump’s domestic agenda or international diplomacy to be reduced to, “I’m rubber, you’re glue. What you say bounces off me, and sticks to you!”
True leaders bring people together in a common goal, cause, or future without bribery, threats, or bullying. In the current climate of Trump vs. The World, there is no leadership, but only fervent emotional reaction. Trump does not lead. Instead, like a Hitler or Mussolini, he riles, stirs, and enflames. He spurs his fans to a directionless gallop, but does nothing to lead them to a goal. He merely sets them loose on America like a plague before moving on to his next tantrum.
Someday, when the adults take back the White House and Washington, D.C., America will be reminded once more of what true leadership is, instead of the circus emcee who thinks cracking a whip and putting on a show will Make America Great Again. Besides, when America wanted the greatest show on earth, we did not tune into The Apprentice. We chose something with more substance…we asked to see Wonder Woman, instead.