Counterfeit Leader Meter – Clinton vs Trump

Both Democrat and Republican candidates for president of the United States of America, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, rate high on the Counterfeit Leader Meter, according to Ken Shelton, CEO of Executive Excellence and author of Beyond Counterfeit Leadership: How You Can Become a More Authentic Leader.

Shelton uses a 10-item, 100-point meter to gauge the degree of counterfeit and authentic leadership in people who occupy positions or who are considered to be leaders by constituents.


Item 1: Nature of Their Work

“Counterfeit leaders do much of their work in the dark,” says Shelton. “Counterfeiting creates pockets of secrecy and canopies of darkness wherein leaders withdraw, keeping things from family and colleagues, preferring to work covertly in closets, behind curtains and closed doors, hoping to win by deception or intimidation. In contrast, authentic leaders make a positive contribution by doing real work with high transparency and accountability. As a career politician with a penchant for covert activity, Clinton scores higher on this item than Trump, who is hardly a saint himself in his work.”  Counterfeit Points:  Clinton 8  Trump 6


Item 2: Obedience to Law

“Counterfeit leaders believe themselves to be above the law and constitution,” says Shelton. “They laugh at the very idea of judgment, of ever having to answer to anyone for anything. They may acknowledge a supreme court, perhaps a god, but see themselves always in good graces, in the right, worthy of merit and mercy. No judge would dare slap a sentence on them.  In contrast, authentic leaders respect and obey the law—and seek to change bad laws. Both Clinton and Trump rate high in counterfeit on this item, but again, Hillary Clinton edges Trump because of her contempt and scorn for those who would hold her accountable for breaking various laws.”  Counterfeit Points: Clinton 9 Trump 7


Exercise 3: Use/Abuse of Power/Money

“The love of power and money corrupts, and obsessions with them corrupt absolutely,” says Shelton. “Power is like a wine, smooth and intoxicating, and it can transform a democratic leader to a tyrant. Power, possessions, perks and privileges can become so intoxicating that people become drunk with greed and ambition. When power and money become the absolute “gold standards” of leadership, turf and title and things become the name of the game. In counterfeit cultures, power and money are taken from the people and hoarded in the coffers of the king, president or CEO who seeks dominion. In contrast, authentic leaders are wise in their use of power and money. Trump has an even longer history than Hillary of abuses of power and wealth.  Counterfeit Points: Trump 9 Clinton 8


Item 4: Communication Style and Appearances

“Counterfeit leaders speak and write to be politically correct or intentionally ambiguous, rarely in plain truth and candor,” says Shelton. “They rely on rhetoric and sophistry, telling the Big Lie to create a sense of nirvana or utopia and to lead their followers to some promised land. And they use little white lies to breed false emotion (sentimentality) and motivation (fear) in order to lead people down the primrose path. Counterfeit leaders relish politics, theatrics, dramatics, short-term flashes, and short-cut finishes. They are cool actors and hot reactors. Masters of make-up, they often judge on appearances. In contrast, authentic leaders earn emotion and tell it like it is. They take firm stands, clearly communicating their position on issues. They love simplicity, brevity, economy, plainness, and natural mannerisms.” Clinton scores much higher than Trump in counterfeit on this item: Counterfeit Points: Clinton 9, Trump 5


Item 5: Relationships

“Counterfeit leaders exploit people and political opportunities,” says Shelton. “We should ask of our leaders: ‘How well do their close relationships hold up under scrutiny?’ Authentic and counterfeit leaders manage relationships differently—especially in challenging times of disaster, chaos, confusion, conflict, opposition, and competition. To see their true colors, we might examine their personal and professional relationships, and how they treat children, minorities, and people who many might consider poor, dumb, ugly, or plain. Authentic leaders make regular deposits in the emotional bank accounts of spouses, children, relatives and constituents to maintain healthy communication and interaction and alleviate stress. They maintain relationships of trust. Authentic leaders prove that life is not a zero-sum game, sweepstakes, or winner-takes-all lottery—that there is an abundance, that someone else’s win needn’t come at our expense.” Counterfeit Points: Trump 9, Clinton 8


Item 6: Outcomes/Results 

“Counterfeits create cultures of uniformity and conformity (not unity, originality or creativity),” says Shelton. “They try to control speech, curb expression, and bring about sameness, not oneness. They may covet the fruits of creativity and diversity, but they can’t trust people enough to allow the freedom that leads to innovation. They may resort to regimentation in nationality and put everybody in uniforms. They are uncomfortable in situations that call for creativity, flexibility, adaptability, or originality. They are imitators, impressionists, modifiers, forgers. They require something to rebel against, campaign for, or play off of. Like chameleons, they change their colors to match the political environment. In contrast, authentic leaders are home-grown originals who prize light, knowledge, wisdom, virtue, industry, perspective, and life balance. Their style is to build, empower, and create self-reliance. They become responsible stewards, trusted and loyal friends, and committed peacemakers. Though they may be fierce competitors in conflicts, they are vigilant guardians of precious rights and freedoms, recognizing that through opposition and competition they are motivated to make continuous improvements and to maintain fitness and viability. They may even cooperate with competitors in unique ways. They break down more walls than they erect, seek to understand other cultures and languages, and promote commerce and trade, making win-win alliances and agreements. Trump has a better track record than Clinton in this item.” Counterfeit Points: Clinton 9, Trump 7


Item 7: Resource Management

“Counterfeit leaders enjoy the expansive and expensive and waste physical and monetary resources,” continues Shelton. “They also waste and exploit human resources (people). Their style is to use and abuse, consume, and create dependencies. They view the public masses as asses. Their appetites and passions are either socially and systemically checked or out of control. They want and need much money; and to get it, they will do whatever is necessary, including start their own printing press, inflate the currency, or put their own image or imprint on the coin of the realm, and then decide what it is worth. They try to tell people, even Father Time and Mother Nature, how best to run the universe. They waste and consume rather than conserve or create resources. Not knowing the real worth of things, they waste food, money, time and life. If they see little wrong with abortive killing, they won’t worry about spilling. In contrast, authentic leaders have a sense of stewardship about their talents, time, and other resources. They consider their possessions, even their children, as gifts and are humbled because of them. They consecrate what they have for the blessing of family and of the less fortunate, wisely and discretely using their resources to benefit other people.” Counterfeit Points: Clinton 9, Trump 9


Item 8: Character/Lifestyle

“Counterfeit leaders tend to be proud, vain, deceitful and self-promotional, caught up in image, fashion, cosmetics, chicanery and flattery,” says Shelton. “With an emphasis on externals, they care deeply about the size, slant, and shape of bodily features, opting for cosmetic surgery to fix what doesn’t fit the prevailing idea of beauty, style, sex-appeal, or fashion. They use their real estate to make symbolic statements of their wealth and status, becoming discriminatory and exclusive. They are addicted to artificial highs, not only through alcohol and drugs but also through artificial emotions and political motions. Their sardonic humor borders on pornography, vulgarity and ribald jokes at the expense of others. Delivered with a twist of cynicism and sarcasm, their barbs put down. In contrast, authentic leaders are appropriately meek, humble, and submissive to proper authority. They are open to counsel and correction, able to learn, progress and change. From a wellspring of love and trust, they perform anonymous acts of service, even sacrifice. They are responsible stewards over time and talent. They discipline appetites and passions, budget time and money, even after acquiring an abundance. They are more concerned with being and becoming than having and getting.”  Counterfeit Points: Clinton 9, Trump 9


Item 9: Enemies and Enmities   

“Counterfeit leaders harbor deep hates, biases, and prejudices and often vent their anger, hating their loves and loving their hates,” says Shelton. “Full of bias and prejudice, many, inevitably, become elitists, believing in race supremacy or segregation. They want to wall off their territory and turf, in spite of giving lip service to improving the plight of the poor. They are often soaking the wealthy and working class for a greater degree of comfort and security. In contrast, authentic leaders treat all people, especially the disadvantaged, with love and dignity. They constantly affirm those in need and show respect and compassion to children and disadvantaged people. Rather than create dependencies, they develop capabilities and competencies. They empower others to become more independent and capable of managing their own lives. Both Trump and Clinton have often expressed enmity for enemies; however, Trump must be rated higher.”  Counterfeit Points: Trump 9 Clinton 8


Item 10: Mission, Motives, and Means

“The mission, motives and means (what, why and how) of counterfeit leaders are misaligned,” says Shelton. “To test for alignment, we ask: ‘With what mission are we operating? With what motives? And with what means? Are these three elements aligned?’ When misaligned, the mission tends to justify the means; the means override the mission; the motives become polluted; good intentions masquerade for real reasons. We then substitute expediency for priority, imitation for innovation, cosmetics for character, style for substance, pretence for competence, rationalization for research, and public relations for on-going development of people and products. In contrast the mission, motives and means of authentic leaders start and remain relatively pure.” Counterfeit Points: Clinton 9, Trump 8


Counterfeit Point Totals: Clinton 85, Trump 78


Any score on the Counterfeit Leader Meter over 75 is high, notes Shelton. “We need to put our presidential candidates and leadership models to a test before we elect them or promote them. This meter makes it easier to detect counterfeit. However, no one instrument or individual is infallible. We all must confess limitations in intelligence and wisdom. We are often intimidated by irresponsible claims of scientists and scholars, duped by false claims of advertisers, swayed by the sex appeal of actors and actresses, and impressed by images created by public relations. However, we can more accurately assess the strength of certain claims and characters by using reliable tools, ranging from various standard weights and measures to intuition and discernment of character, competence and culture.”


  1. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time
    to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I
    wish to suggest you few interesting things or advice.
    Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article.

    I want to read even more things about it!

  2. 919001 141735Youll find some fascinating points in time in this post but I do not know if I see all of them center to heart. Theres some validity but I will take hold opinion until I appear into it further. Amazing post , thanks and we want a lot far more! Added to FeedBurner too 140942

  3. 862075 577992For anybody who is considering about external complications, sometimes be tough amaze those to realize to produce just a single weed in this quite flowing generally requires eleven liters concerning gasoline to. dc totally free mommy blog giveaways family trip home gardening residence power wash baby laundry detergent 431029

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.