By Steve Adubato, PhD
Great leaders must be disciplined communicators. A president-in-waiting, more specifically President-Elect Donald Trump, is no longer a candidate involved in a campaign. He is about to become the leader of the Free World, so what he says and how he says it matters more than ever before. What he tweets and when he tweets has impact in ways that I’m sure he never imagined.
Like most Americans, regardless of how we voted, I am rooting for President-Elect Trump because I believe in America first and you can’t be a true patriot if you don’t believe in the presidency and the importance of that office. That’s why I so badly want President-Elect Trump to succeed. But here’s the catch. My fear is that President-Elect Trump has a trigger finger when it comes to his tweeting. At times he can be an undisciplined communicator who says dangerous things that are driven, more likely, by emotions as opposed to some larger strategy or greater goal of bringing the country together as he powerfully described on election night.
Specifically, one clear example is when President-Elect Trump recently tweeted, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” Yet, he offers no evidence, and no facts. He simply believes it is true, so he says it on Twitter. Like when he was a candidate, he puts it out into the social media stratosphere and the mainstream media eats it up. But, like I said, Donald Trump is about to become the leader of the Free World, and his goal is to unify the country when we’re more divided than ever.
So why would the president-elect make such a statement? Who really knows? Is it bothering him that he didn’t win the popular vote, even though he won the election, fair and square? He’s going to be the President, because he won the election! Isn’t it enough that he won the Electoral College “bigly,” as he likes to say? Or, is it that his ego won’t allow him to accept the fact that Hillary Clinton got more popular votes, even though that doesn’t make her the president? I’m not sure but I am concerned.
After spending approximately two years writing my recently published book, “Lessons in Leadership,” in which I examine the leadership style of Donald Trump and many other leaders, I’ve come to some conclusions about leadership and one of them is this: great leaders don’t allow their ego to drive what they say in public. They’re more disciplined, more emotionally mature and sometimes, when necessary, they bite their tongue. Further, great presidents must sometimes ask themselves, is this worth saying for the greater good of the country? This is a question I’m not convinced our president-elect asks himself a lot. It appears that he just thinks it and says it, in writing. And when pressed about his claim that millions of people voted illegally, Trump and those closest to him say you can’t prove that he’s not right. That’s scary. As president, you can’t make a claim without any facts to support it.
I believe President-Elect Trump really wants to move our country forward. If so, he needs to focus on the economy, jobs, securing our boarders, and getting ready to be president. He needs to continue to try to put the right people in positions to help him lead and stop self-indulgent tweeting about a campaign that is over.
Finally, it’s bad enough for a leader to be a sore loser, but we can’t afford to have our president-elect be a sore winner. Like I said, he won fair and square. He needs to move on. He needs to govern and do the things he was elected to do, not waste time debating an election he already won simply because his ego won’t let it go.
Lesson in Leadership… Great Leaders Are Disciplined Communicators. They understand that their words have impact and communicate carefully and with purpose. I hope and pray that President-Elect Trump learns this lesson sooner rather than later, because the stakes are way too high and the campaign is in the rearview mirror. We can’t afford the luxury of our president’s indiscriminate and factually off-based tweeting any longer. In fact, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter, just recently said much the same regarding Trump’s tweet about the popular vote.