Are we regressing 50 years or more or progressing toward a better future?
For 30 years, 1984 to 2014, I served as editor/publisher of Leadership Excellence magazine, along with writing/editing/agenting/publishing about 250 books on leadership.
Before and during this time, I noted a shift in our views about leaders and leadership:
From: our old ideological roots in independence and freedom and our romantic stereotypes of cowboys and chieftains who speak their own mind, shoot from the hip and lip, and tell it like it is (usually with some degree of charisma, chauvinism or showmanship).
To: our new inclusive views that tend to be politically correct, safe, female- and minority-friendly, and organizationally palatable.
Does Trump’s win set us back three decades or more? Yes, no and maybe. And what does his win say about the current state of leadership in America?
Here are a few of the many take-aways:
Old values and models run deep. We still like the cowboy, entrepreneur, entertainer, gambler, gunslinger, and self-made rich man who speaks his mind with courage and conviction.
Career politicians and other institutional bureaucrats are not leaders, even though they may be called such. Trump called them all out on this and won over his competition.
Self-styled and self-made men (and women) still make compelling models. Trump has a lot of the con-man and counterfeit leader in him, but he is now president-elect.
People have high tolerance for personal faults and failures. Trump is about as flawed as they come in today’s line-up of would-be leaders, but he has courage and confidence—and his direct messages resonate with many people.
Clinton lost as much as Trump won. People are not so much against women leaders as they are against women who seem to seek office because they are women and want to promote a feminist, all-inclusive agenda without regard to traditional values and morals.
Trump won because he tapped into the anger and angst of many Americans. He came across as saying: “Look, I’m no politician. I’m as sick and tired of the losers in government as you are. I think I can help. Give me your vote, and I’ll make America great again.”
So, are we regressing 50 years or more or progressing toward a better future?
Obviously, this remains an open question. Only time will tell. I am optimistic if . . .
Trump uses his strong-man style and street-smart savvy to negotiate better deals for Americans
Trump dials way back on his inflammatory, derisive rhetoric and seeks to unite us.
Trump selects great administrators, and they mostly govern the nation.
Trump is given a fair chance and sustained by the faith and prayers of all Americans.