Brace yourselves. Even in Canada, it’s everywhere, practically inescapable - the next U.S presidential election, that is. Set to take place on November 8th, it has captivated the attention of media titans across the globe with the center of it all being Donald Trump. Some might call him a visionary, an innovator, and maybe even a leader - but what do we really know about him aside from his net wealth and hardheaded rhetoric? Has he really shown the characteristics of a true leader? Does he have the traits and resolve that prove he could handle arguably the most important job in the world? Given that over $22.8 million has been spent on anti-Trump TV & radio advertising, clearly there is an overwhelming anti-Trump sentiment that has strong financial support. Despite the attack ads, political blunders and anti-immigrant remarks, however, he still finds himself in a favorable position heading into the New York primaries.
To start, let’s examine what attracts people to Trump. Firstly, at face value, Trump clearly has the ability to inspire people with his words. Whether or not he is actually speaking the truth is up for debate, but with no prior political experience he has somehow convinced citizens across the United States that he is worthy of the republication presidential nomination. Leadership theories suggest that while there is no specific trait or collection that leads to one becoming a great leader, the ability to rally support for their vision is paramount to achieving success. Secondly, Trump, to his credit, has become somewhat of a charismatic leader, providing people with reasons to believe in his vision of “Make America Great Again”. However loosely based that vision may be, he has inspired many Americans to believe that he is the right man for the job. His personal wealth, track record in the business world, aggressive mentality, and relentless ambition all contribute to his favorable reputation among Republican voters despite all of his faults.
That being said, does Trump’s ability to inspire followers really make him a leader? Some might think so, but when you look deeper at characteristics that define great leaders, Trump lacks a number of crucial traits including the ability to listen. In a fast-paced and complex world, taking time to hear the opinions of others and set aside pre-judgment is essential when making rational and well-thought-out decisions. During the 2016 debates, Trump frequently demonstrated his inability to listen to others by displaying a narcissistic arrogance through the interruption of other candidates and showing complete disregard for their opinions. This behavior is extremely alarming, especially when you consider the magnitude of the role he is vying for. As said by Senator Lamar Alexander, former aid to President Nixon, “Presidents do best when they delegate most issues to their Cabinet members and empower their subordinates.” This brings up Trump’s second leadership shortcoming: his love for the spotlight. To get the most out of one’s team, they must empower them to make decisions and then give credit where credit is due. When taking on a role such as the Presidency of a country, there is no way to possibly understand every nuance of what is occurring or have the time to address every problem individually. In such a complex position, one needs to rely on the efforts of others by collaborating and acknowledging where one’s own limitations may be. Lastly, in a leadership position one must have an understanding of empathy for others. Trump once again lacks this completely. His slandering of the immigrant population, particularly Hispanic and Muslim Americans, shows a true lack of empathy. In addition, his numerous derogatory comments towards women show his inability to understand the plight that many females face when entering the workforce, as well as his lack of knowledge or care on important topics such as wage inequality. Without developing a sense of empathy, Trump will struggle to communicate with world leaders from different cultural backgrounds as well as the very people he seeks to lead.
Although Trump has some qualities that may lead people to see him as a leader, his narcissistic attitude and lack of true leadership skills, lead me to believe otherwise. His thirst for attention, poor listening skills, and complete lack of empathy for others show me someone who is nowhere near ready to take on the Presidency of the United States. This is a quest for power that needs to be stopped before Donald Trump has access to 2000 active nuclear warheads and the most powerful military in the world.