Ok, ok. Go wipe the coffee from your laptop screen, take a deep breath and hear me out.
Donald Trump has said some pretty controversial things. His comments are considered unacceptable to many. But we all know this. And there will be a million blogs out there telling us what we already know. What interests me is Donald Trump the leader.
We talk a lot about mindful leadership. Here’s what we think makes a mindful leader.
- Your feelings are calm.
- Your reflexes are fast.
- Your mind is clear.
- You know what you want.
- You know what’s right for you.
- You perform to your best.
- Your confidence is deep.
- You are decisive.
- You know and accept that you are not perfect.
- You accept you have faults and you own them.
Now lets look at these points with Donald Trump in mind. Calm? Ok, well, when you think of Donald Trump, calm isn’t the first word that springs to mind. However, his reflexes are fast. He couldn’t possibly think on his feet if his mind wasn’t clear. He knows exactly what he wants. He believes he knows what’s right for him. He gave a strong and consistent performance throughout his entire campaign, so we can assume that his self-confidence runs deep.
So far, that’s 6 out of 7. We tend to think of a mindful leader as an upstanding, well-rounded member of society. So the idea that Donald Trump could actually be a mindful leader is a pretty hard pill to swallow. You may not agree with his morals and principles, but can he lead? It certainly seems that way.
So what about points number 9 and 10? After the misogynistic comments in his conversation with Billy Bush, Trump released an apology. His opening statement was
‘I’ve never said I’m a perfect person, nor pretended to be someone I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret and the words released today on this more than a decade old video, are one of them. Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong and I apologise.’
So does Trump really understand that he isn’t perfect? Does he truly accept his faults and own them? Only Trump knows whether his apology is sincere.
And what about Hillary Clinton? If we look at points 1-8, we could answer ‘yes’ based on what we have seen. So far so good. She professed to be the only candidate qualified enough to become president. And up against Trump, she’d be right. It was a no brainer. She thought she had it in the bag. But again, points 9 and 10 let her down. America lost faith in Clinton because they didn’t trust her. She didn’t accept and own her faults. The deleted emails. The cozy relationships with corrupt banking executives and corporate elites. Her slippery and secretive reputation. She believed she was above the law.
The presidential debates brought their failings on these points into sharp focus. The tit-for-tat bickering and bear bating was difficult to watch. It was summed up perfectly in the viral meme
‘I feel like Trump and Clinton are two divorced parents, fighting for custody of us. And we just wanna go live with Grandma’
Trump consistently retaliated to Hillary Clinton’s attacks, by counter-attacking her husband Bill Clinton and his lurid behaviour during his time in the White House. If, instead of going on the offensive, Trump had exposed his own flaws and imperfections, accepting and owning them 8-mile style, Hilary would have had nowhere to go. But Trump refused to show real humility or weakness.
After Trump’s victory, neither side took responsibility for their inappropriate behaviour in these debates. In her concession speech, Clinton even called for her supporters to keep an open mind and allow Trump to lead! After everything that had been said, after all the personal attacks and end-of-days scaremongering, Clinton told her followers to just get on with it.
So will Trump be a mindful leader? Would Clinton have been any better? Considering points 9 and 10, they seem to be just as bad as each other. Throughout their respective campaigns, neither candidate displayed any real honesty or humility. These last 2 points are the most important, because they make you REAL. You must be able to see and accept that you aren’t perfect. You must be honest about your mistakes. You must own them.
If you can’t keep it real, you can’t be a truly mindful leader.