If a year ago someone told me I would be an advocate of Donald Trump, I would have laughed, because everyone knew he was a joke with a toupee. But on August 27, 2015, at a rally in Greenville, South Carolina, when Mary Margaret Bannister pulled his hair, we learned he does not wear a wig.
And in researching my upcoming book, Trump The Press, I learned he is no joke. He has developed the leadership skills needed to lead the free world.
In December 2014, Peter Economy of Inc. magazine wrote, “The Top 10 Skills Every Great Leader Needs to Succeed.” Trump has them all.
1. Inspires and motivates others.
My favorite example is Jim Herman, who at 38 won his first PGA tournament on April 3, 2016. Herman tried for years to make the PGA but gave up on his dreams a decade ago, and settled in as an assistant pro at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“I got into a nice conversation with Donald, Mr. Trump, one day. He’s like, ‘Why are you folding shirts and giving lessons? Why aren’t you on the Tour? I’ve played with tour players, you’re good enough.’ I don’t know, maybe something like that gives you more confidence,” Herman told Simon Evans of Reuters after winning the Shell Houston Open.
2. Displays high integrity and honesty.
In business, your word is your bond. Fellow billionaires T. Boone Pickens, Conrad Black, and Carl Icahn vouch for him. Businessmen seldom give a liar a second chance. Trump is tough, but respected.
3. Solves problems and analyzes issues.
In the 1970s, developers gave up on most of Manhattan. Enter Trump. He bought the Commodore Hotel in the hope of restoring it to its former glory. That meant closing down the X-rated shops that infested its first floor. The city offered him tax abatements, but the banks were reluctant to finance his project. Trump, all of 34, figured out a way to make it work.
4. Drives for results.
The city of New York wasted six years and millions of dollars trying to renovate an ice rink at Central Park. Trump took the project over, and brought it in under budget and on schedule in six months.
5. Communicates powerfully and prolifically.
What can I say? No one has commanded news coverage like The Donald. True, much of it is negative, but like Reagan, he talks through the camera and directly to the public. He was the Big Dog who showed that the rest in the litter were runts.
6. Builds relationships.
One of my favorite chapters in my book includes a testimonial from Peter David Ticktin, an extraordinary trial lawyer who rid Ontario of the loathsome Uniform Summons within a year of passing the Bar. He served as Trump’s top sergeant when they were in military school together in the 1960s.
“Of the 99 guys (no girls in those days) in our class, there is not one who I know who has a bad word to say about Donald Trump. Think of it. With all the jealousies which arise in high school and thereafter, with all the potential envy, not one of us has anything other than positive memories of this man. How could we? He was an A student, a top athlete, and as a leader, he was highly respected. We never feared him, yet we never wanted to disappoint him,” Ticktin wrote.
7. Displays technical or professional expertise.
His eldest son said he and his brother are the only sons of billionaires in the world who can operate a D-10 Caterpillar. Trump raised him like his father, Fred Trump, raised his sons by making them pull weeds and learn development from the sub-floor up.
8. Displays a strategic perspective.
Throughout Donald Trump’s career, he has developed strategies, beginning with converting the Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt. He studied the media until he mastered it. His reality shows dominated the ratings over 14 seasons.
9. Develops others.
Trump made his caddy, Dan Scavino Jr., his social media director. Trump does not go by résumé. He goes by results.
Until Trump, recent presidential nominees had to raise millions and blow millions on ads and huge staffs to win. A billionaire, he did not buy the election. Rather, he earned it by going out there every day and rallying the people by standing for something — America.
Bonus: Champions change.
Trump is an advocate of Management By Wandering Around. He talks to staff and to learn first-hand what is going on. Professor Newt Gingrich said Trump is one of the quickest learners he has ever seen.
Flip flop? You can bet your assets that he will change his position at any time, anywhere, and any place if given new facts. He was pro-choice until he realized that a baby is not an inconvenience but a gift from God.
Yes, I get that he is not a cookie-cutter conservative when it comes to policy. But writing policy is not a president’s job. You hire people like Ted Cruz to draft policy. That is what President Bush 43 did.
Trump’s biggest selling point is that like Bush 43, Reagan, and Eisenhower, Trump accomplished something in life before entering politics. That taught him that public policy has consequences. Leaders should be aware of the damage as well as the good they do.
Washington today is like the Commodore Hotel was in the 1970s. Trump will gut it and make it better than you have ever seen it. He made Manhattan great again. Of course he will Make America Great Again.
Photo credit: Mark Taylor/Creative Commons