If we were to believe everything that's been propagated about Donald Trump in the media of late, we'd have to conclude the man doesn't even possess the credentials to be in charge of a market stall - never mind being leader of the free world. His failings in life and indiscretions have been referenced constantly since the beginning of his presidential campaign, and very few political commentators appear to have a positive word to say about him.
There has been a lot written about Trump in international press. However, we rarely examine the alternative viewpoint: the view of Trump, as told through the lens of the extensive amount of literature he has written about himself.
HOW DO WE ASSESS DONALD TRUMP?
By researching Donald Trump extensively (through an analysis of his autobiographical works and biographies written about him by others), and examining his patterns of behaviour, it becomes possible to interpret his leadership style using Pearn Kandola's Leadership Model.
The model looks at the three essential components of leadership:
1. People Leadership - i.e., the extent to which people are motivated, engaged, inspired.
2. Task Leadership - i.e., the goals a leaders sets, the strategies employed to achieve them and the focus they bring to their work.
3. Thought Leadership - i.e., innovation, experimentation, strategic and visionary thinking.
Of the three areas listed above, the new President has clear strengths in two of them - task and thought.
HOW IS HE A SUCCESSFUL "TASK" LEADER?
The profile that emerges of Donald Trump is someone who is enormously ambitious. This is a person who sets himself extremely challenging goals and who is prepared to test himself in everything he does. Whilst objectives may be demanding, he is organised in achieving them. He is a leader who is careful in ensuring plans are put in place to ensure the attainment of his specific goals; and that progress is monitored regularly. In the world of Trump, very little is left to chance.
Furthermore, he recovers well from setbacks and learns from the experience in order to be better prepared in the future. Trump is pre-emptive - he tries to identify obstacles that could arise and prevent him from achieving his aims. If something unanticipated occurs, he calmly continues to focus on the goal and seeks to find solutions. Therefore, whilst he has set agendas, he demonstrates flexibility with regards to implementing them.
This style of leadership can be best exemplified by his approach to the renovation of the Wollman rink in New York. The rink was originally closed for six years when undergoing what was supposed to be two years of renovations, and the project had gone millions of dollars over budget. Donald Trump stepped in and took an educated risk: he paid for the renovations out of his own wallet (under the premise he would take over the running of the rink), and due to his diligent approach to achieving goals he succeeded in restoring the rink back to its former glory. He did this in only four months, and finished under budget. It was a huge testament to his ability to cleverly orchestrate enormous and challenging projects, proving Trump to be a highly diligent task master.
Overall, as a task leader, He takes great pride in his work. One of his key motivations is completing a task and achieving his stated goals. Words that describe him include dutiful, disciplined and diligent.
WHAT MAKES HIM A "THOUGHT" LEADER?
As far as Thought Leadership is concerned, Donald Trump is someone who is both innovative and imaginative. He is prepared to challenge orthodox thinking, and will question the ways that his peers around him work in order to find the best solutions that achieve the highest results. Whilst he (privately) acknowledges his mistakes and seeks to learn from them, his approach does not leave much time to dwell on such negative matters.
He is intelligent and analytical. He interprets data well and can find flaws in arguments and ideas. Having analysed a situation, he will be quick to make up his mind. He is a man willing to take calculated risks: capable of pushing the limits of rules and regulations, without scrapping proven practices and approaches that are already in place.
Donald Trump is not a reckless gambler. He does not over-complicate issues and is very pragmatic in the way he conducts his work.
This pragmatism has been extended, surprisingly, to his approach towards women. Although frequently framed as being misogynistic, Trump has not completely shunned women from his entourage: in fact ex female employees have spoken of his disregard for gender, claiming that he perceived a hard working woman to be "better than ten men". He was known widely for hiring extremely high performing females and holding them to high standards - something which showed him to value pragmatism and successful solutions over common streams of thought (as during his peak in the eighties, this would have gone against popular thought).
SUMMARISING THE PRO'S OF TRUMP
Whenever you talk about Trump, it must be acknowledged that he is an extraordinary character with some excellent leadership qualities.
Obviously Trump also has his weaknesses, and some of these are a result of him overplaying his strengths. However, I believe the central point to emerge from this situation is that the new President has many admirable qualities that lie alongside his flaws. We know this because he would not have built such an enormous empire without possessing any talent.
Still, whether this a good thing or not is difficult to say at this point. For now, it is hinged on whether an individual falls on the side of advocate or adversary.
Binna has produced psychological profiles for several political leaders in the past by utilising the Pearn Kandola framework. This includes British Prime Ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, as well as for Barack Obama.