What makes a great leader? Leadership expert Andy Stanley believes there are five characteristics of a great leader: Clarity, courage, confidence, coachability, (the capacity to learn from one’s mistakes and to grow), and finally, character.
Clarity: Donald Trump definitely has this leadership quality. His campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” resonates with millions of people who voted for him and support him loyally three years later. President Trump uses simple words, and his tweets are clear and easy for both his supporters and enemies to understand.
His plain spoken clarity gives his followers a sense of certainty. All of us want certainty. We live in a confusing time when we often don’t know what to do. But as Benjamin Franklin noted, the only certainties we all really have are death and taxes. I’d add another certainty of not living up to our own ideals and expectations.
Courage: Does Trump exhibit courage? That depends on how you define the term. Courage is defined by Miriam Webster as, “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”. His supporters would say “Yes!” to this characteristic. They would argue that it took courage for him to run for the presidency and courage to put up with the Democratic witch-hunt and false accusations thrown at him on a daily basis.
Trump’s opponents would disagree. They would argue that his courage is based upon arrogance. He is a bully, and all bullies are really cowards inside. Bullies use a lot of bluster to get what they want. They force other people to do submit to their will through threats and intimidation.
Confidence: Again, we’d better define the term because supporters and opponents differ on this quality. There are lots of definitions for this term. The first definition in Miriam Webster: “a feeling of consciousness of one’s powers, or of reliance on one’s circumstances.” The second definition is “faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way.”
Most of Trump’s supporters would probably pick the first definition to describe him. They admire the President’s awareness of his powers and his willingness to take circumstances and shape them in his own image.
Trump’s opponents would look at the second definition and say, “No way!” They have no faith that he will act in any way other than to benefit himself. They have no faith in him at all. He definitely does not act in a right, proper, or effective way. Trump has no sense of morality, or concern for others who are disadvantaged, or who are of another race or nationality that is not white western European.
Coachability: Both friends and foes alike would agree that President Trump does not admit mistakes. If caught in a lie or improper act, he will double down and insist loudly that he is justified. Then he attacks his enemies and those who have the courage to speak out against him.
Had President Trump just openly admitted he had tried to force the Ukrainian president to help him in his campaign and that he was in error to do so, the House would likely not have impeached him. I think most people would agree that he is his own worst enemy. His own words have gotten him into his impeachment predicament.
Character: It’s clear that character is not one of Trump’s leadership gifts. Even his supporters are often frustrated with his crassness and lack of self-control. They abhor the way he speaks about women and Mexicans. They find his treatment of illegal child immigrants to be detestable.
The reason I have shared these five traits of leadership is to help you decide whether you want another four years of President Trump. This is an election year where you will to decide on the best candidate to lead the nation. It is obvious that the President is gifted with clarity, but that trait is only one of five. Even if we eliminate courage and confidence over differences of opinion, the issues of coachability and character are his flat-out weaknesses.
The final test to help you decide is to ask yourself whether you would want him to be your father or spouse. If your answer to these two questions is no, then you know how to vote in November.