Ruling by Controversy : The Leadership Brand of Donald J Trump

Two weeks into the presidency of Donald J Trump I find myself thinking an awful lot about dysfunctional families. Just as they become addicted to the constant chaos of crisis, I fear Americans are in danger of becoming inured to turmoil under his leadership brand.  The constant barrage of what the fuck moments, be they controversial cabinet nominees, religious bans or diplomatic debacles have us all in a united state of apprehension.  What is next??!

Personally, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop – all the time.  In fourteen short days, he initiated a Muslim travel ban, threw down the gauntlet to Iran and Mexico, bullied Australia, sent mixed messages to Russia and Israel, undid climate reform measures and generally worked his ass off to turn back time with regards to policy and lawful practices.…and let’s not even talk about China or North Korea! Oh yeah, he also managed to move the hands of the so-called Doomsday Clock closer to game-over!

For the third straight weekend, protests – organized not just around the United States but around the world – have been held in response to Trump and his executive orders.  What is a sane person to think?  Is it really being overly dramatic, as Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway says, to feel concern over the missteps and misstatements of this fledgling Administration?  Is it really unreasonable to be uncomfortable with the new president’s penchant for early morning tweets – especially when those short messages are frequently at odds with official White House communiques and directives?  I think not.

Shooting from the hip may look good on the silver screen – but real-life requires a certain amount of finesse.  Effective leaders rely on thoughtfulness and well-informed decisions, not hubris – to get the job done.  Willful ignorance is not the same thing as a learning curve.

A Commander in Chief whose idea of building consensus is telling people “Don’t worry about it” instead of offering a reasoned argument for his decisions is bound to make a lot of people nervous.   It does me.  I want to know that experts are being consulted and listened to when it comes to the big calls.  It can’t be just the untested inner circle.  They have not yet paid their dues. That’s earned with experience.  Same as a nation’s trust.

Contrary to the popular campaign comparison – running a business is not the same as running a country.  Not even a little bit.  In one you are the boss – you can operate autonomously.  Bottom line, when you oversee a company that you own, what you say goes.  Presidents though, have limits.  Lots of them.  And they can be fired.


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