Industry Feature: Business Leadership

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Donald Trump. Love him or hate him, he’s causing quite a stir in American politics, and not always for the best of reasons. However, I’m not writing this to talk about Trump’s Presidency, his political ambition, or even to discuss his past inappropriate behaviour. I am writing to ascertain one thing – is there anything we can learn from Donald Trump as a business leader?

There is no doubt that, through all his faults, Trump has developed a global business Empire – becoming a huge name in American industry and attracting a lot of media attention. Yes, a lot of his attention has been due to controversial headlines hitting our phones, televisions, and tablets, and more recently about his success for Presidency, however he has been known for his business acumen. So, as he was voted to become the leader of arguably the biggest Nation globally, let’s explore his apparent core values and see how Donald Trump leads, and discuss whether we can learn anything from him.

He stands up for what he believes in

There’s no denying, if Trump believes in something he is willing to scream it from the rooftops, and make sure everyone knows his thoughts. Whilst the ability to voice an opinion in an articulate manner and have faith in your own beliefs is admirable, in order to be a good business leader you have to draw upon others opinions, be able to listen and take on board other people’s points of views. On the one hand, Trump holds true value in his own opinion and is not afraid to throw out there his own ideas, however he is notorious for expressing controversial thoughts that can offend a lot of people and is not always done with tact. So although Trump is a great advocate for standing up for what you believe in, it is a good idea to educate yourself on the environment you are in and express beliefs relevant to that, otherwise you could find yourself on the wrong end of an employment tribune!

He is honest

This is perfect to lead on from the previous point. Ever heard the phrase honesty is the best policy? Well, Trump can accredit his popularity to his honesty, particularly within the political sphere. Being open and honest with your peers is a great leadership quality to have, and in relation to Trump it has allowed many Americans, who previously would have held a distrust to political institutions, to connect with his views and policies. Being honest with your employees allows them to trust and respect in your decision making, and allows them to have conviction in your leadership. It also encourages a strong moral compass within your team – one of truthfulness. However, remember to use your honesty with diplomacy. Sometimes, Trump appears to be too brash in expressing his honest opinions, thereby alienating people. Your aim in being open is to engage them and motivate them, not to estrange them.

His strength and confidence

According to Harvard researchers (Source; Compelling People) individuals are attracted to strong leaders due to the confidence they convey. This relates to my earlier point about standing up for what you believe in. When you express your opinion with conviction people automatically will listen to your point, even if they disagree with it. There is no doubt that Trump has got where he is because people have listened to him and trusted in his decision. However, conveying confidence without any backup is not a good trait. Spouting your own opinion when you lack knowledge or experience within that issue is a sure fire way to turn people against you. This is one of the many reasons why people do not respect Trump’s judgement when it comes to politics – he has no experience of sitting within a political institution. If you have people questioning your decisions, it is hard to be a strong leader. There is also the issue of over-confidence. Egotistical behaviour is never a good trait to have, and particularly not when you are trying to motivate a team.


We have gone through 3 points that stand out to me about Donald Trump. He stands up for what he believes in, he is honest (maybe a little too much) and he portrays a position of strength and confidence, all of which are good characterisations to have as a business leader. However, stating points with no educational back up, and little tact, can put people off and lead to a demotivated workforce. The same goes for confidence, if you are too strong with your opinions and the way you lead your team, it can discourage employees.

So, taking all this in to account, is there anything we can learn from Donald Trump? Last week he may have performed one of the biggest political shocks in a long time (well, maybe since Brexit – but that’s a whole other story). I’ll let you make your own mind up, but be sure to let me know in the comments box what you decide!


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