Trump and Leadership


I admit it. I watch the Apprentice. I enjoy watching the interaction and the way the people work this system for an opportunity to work for Mr. Trump.

The Apprentice is also an interesting window on leadership. While I don’t believe Mr. Trump is the greatest example of the Jim Collins/Good to Great leader, he does exhibit a certain style that I’m sure is found throughout corporate America. The show gives us all some idea of how to intimidate, play games, and watch people aggressively defend themselves and their actions.

So what can we learn from Mr. Trump?

Start with Strategy. It seems to me that the teams move too quickly to tactics and don’t focus enough time on strategy and vision for the project. Without vision for the outcome (beginning with the end in mind) of the project, how can the project manager energize the team with just a string of tactics?

Quit the Blame Game. The board room setting is rife with blame. Effective leadership should focus on the result, not the blame. Mr. Trump’s proteges are eager to find blame and create unsolvable conflict. In the world of good leadership blame needs to be replaced by creative tension that seeks to solve issues.

Too Much Focus on the Leader. From Jim Collins’ research and the work of Kim Cameron we have come to realize that the charismatic, silver-bullet leader is not the way most highly productive organizations work.

So, I’ll continue to watch the show, but I also realize there are much better ways to lead the organization.

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One Response to “Trump and Leadership”

  1. Scott says:

    Lesson for today: Despite all the drama in our own jobs, great leadership just doesn’t make for good television… 🙂

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