There have been countless posts about how surprising Trump’s win was. Most of the media got it wrong. Frankly, I did not see it coming either. Instead of the media’s darling, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump is heading to the White House. Whether or not we like this, it is going to become fact on January 20th, 2017. Mr. Donald Trump will rule as the 45th President of the United States.
What kind of leader Donald Trump will be as president of the United Sates? Will Donald Trump be able to keep his head high during and after his presidency? Only time will tell.
As the author of the upcoming book, First-Class Leadership, I have taken a close look at the leadership principles Donald Trump effectively executed throughout his journey to the White House. In my opinion, Donald Trump used the following four winning leadership principles effectively:
Have a clear vision, believe 100% in your mission
Donald Trump started his journey to the White House with a clear vision of how he saw the US and the world. He believed 100% in his mission; the presidency. When we genuinely believe in our mission we go for it 100% and maximise our potential. Take Jack Ma for example. In an interview with Bloomberg he said, “So many people I talked to about Alipay at that time said, ‘This is the stupidest idea you’ve ever had’”. But Jack Ma believed in what he was doing and look where he and his empire, the Alibaba Group, are now.
Much of the world’s media was anti-Trump. Also, there were not many governments in power who supported Donald Trump. Mr. Trump believed so much in his mission that the criticism heaped on him, his campaign, his speeches and his past did not affect him. He persevered with his goal to win the election and he did!
Understand and give your followers what they want and need
Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” This is what Donald Trump successfully did. Presidential campaigns are all about making promises. Delivery will follow afterwards as it does when future casting a promising product. Trump connected emotionally with the people who were fed up with the political establishment. He spoke the language of people on the street who were primarily concerned about their jobs, their safety and their income. Trump was calling on their American pride (emotions) by strategically choosing “Make America great Again”. He focused on jobs and national security instead of climate change which seems far away and is hard for the majority to digest.
Donald Trump understood which key words to choose and capitalize on. He promised to give Americans what they need. In return, Americans made him their 45th president.
Create clarity in communication, make emotional connection
It has been said that there is nothing more important than clarity when it comes to performance. Clarity connects. When connection is made, we transform our message to a feeling. The feeling is either pleasant (love) or unpleasant (hate). There is not much in between. Donald Trump sent clear messages whenever he spoke to his followers. By carefully choosing simplified words, he communicated easily with Americans.
Trump created an image of how people’s lives would look if he became their president. Trump’s speeches were much easier to transform to pictures than those of his rival, Clinton. Trump’s messages resonated with millions of people from political elites to people on the street. Unlike the politically correct messages of Hillary Clinton, who wanted to encompass everybody, Donald Trump chose to be the darling of a part of the population. It’s called, “choose your battles.” Regardless of whether we like it or not, this is the best way to know if people like you and your product (policy). Those who choose to vote for you, love you, and those who do not probably hate you. Trump seemed to speak authentically from the bottom of his heart. There is a Persian expression which says, “The words coming from the heart make it to the heart.” When this happens, the message gets through and you connect emotionally with people. Remember, lasting connection is made through feelings not rationale!
Change your strategy when it is time
Compare Trump’s famous speech on immigration and creating a wall between the US and Mexico with his victory speech. His speech on November 9th surprised me. He used statements such as, “bind the wounds of division”, “to come together as one united people”, “to be a president for all America”, “working together”, “build our infrastructure”, “put millions of our people to work”, “take care of great veterans”, and “we will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us”. Donald Trump was even gracious towards Hillary Clinton whom he had said previously would go to jail if he became president.
Changing direction so dramatically may not be appreciated by everyone. However, it is a leadership quality. The leader should be able to sell the transformation. Changing strategy when appropriate is a great quality only highly effective leaders have. I would like to call it strategic leadership rather than strategic management. By strategic leadership I mean leading in a way that helps you break through strategically. This is what Donald Trump did in his speech on November 9th. It was amazing to see that the markets appreciated Trump’s strategically chosen words during his victory speech.
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Hamid Safaei is the author of the upcoming book First-Class Leadership. He is the founder of ImOcean Academy. Hamid is a qualified executive coach helping executives and budding entrepreneurs make breakthroughs. He has led successful business transformations for a number of Fortune Global 500 companies.