Happy New Year! I want to send out a heartfelt thank you to all of my subscribers. I appreciate your support, your comments, and this remarkable community of people who care about better communication and more compassion at work. In keeping with tradition, here are the most read posts from my blog in 2019.
What’s the difference between leadership and manipulation? This two-part series explores this very question using Donald Trump as the case study. In Part One I introduced the topic and shared three of the six tactics that skilled manipulators use to get what they want. Here are the other three, along with positive leadership lessons.
I get a lot of requests to write about Donald Trump’s personality. Let’s start with an update to two articles I wrote in 2016 during Donald Trump’s campaign for president.
Trump is good. I mean, really good. When it comes to imposing his will on others, without their awareness or permission, Trump is one of the best I’ve ever seen in this generation. Webster defines manipulation like this:
Manipulation is to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage.
Everybody has borders they want to protect. Nothing wrong with that. We all build walls to protect those borders. That’s normal.
The problem is, most of us claim borders and build walls that are a cover up for the real issues. These smoke screens serve the purpose of helping us feel justified, but aren’t effective in the long run because of the sacrifices they require.
Newsweek magazine published a language analysis of US presidents done by FactBase concluding that Donald Trump speaks at a mid-fourth grade level, the lowest of all presidents analyzed, more than one grade level below the next lowest, Harry Truman. The analysis assessed the first 30,000 words each president spoke in office, and ranked them on the Flesch-Kincaid grade level scale and more than two dozen other common tests analyzing English-language difficulty levels. FactBase compared these findings to Trump’s own claim that he is a genius.
Fake News Alert. Language reading level has very little relationship to traditional measures of intelligence (IQ).
Our family loves the winter olympics. We’ve been glued to our TV every night watching the latest from Pyeongchang, rooting for underdogs, tracking the medal count, and watching our favorite athletes display their skills.
My favorite aspect of the 23rd winter olympic games has been watching North and South Korea compete together in some of the events, a symbolic and significant gesture of unity.
Yin-Yang symbolism was prominent in the Winter Olympics opening ceremony. In Chinese philosophy, yin yang can be thought of as complementary, rather than opposing, forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. Yin-Yang is about opposites in harmony.
Competition has not always meant a win-lose battle between adversaries.
Dating back before the 17th century, teams would come together to “co-petition” the gods for blessings.
The traditional playing field is a rectangle dissected by a line with a circle in the middle. It was believed that blessings would be brought down in the circle, thus making it the focus of the contest. The overall purpose was to advance the greater good of the community.
I believe it is time to bring that focus back. I invite you to help usher in a new era where differences are seen as assets, not liabilities;
…when people from other countries are welcomed instead of feared;
…when divergent value systems sign a potential to solve great problems instead of stoking bigotry;
…where conflict is an opportunity to create something new instead of cut people off;
…when we focus on the greater good instead of the greatest number of retweets.
This is why I’m passionate about Compassionate Accountability. Compassion and accountability are opposites that can exist in harmony. Using the principles of compassionate accountability people can engage conflict without casualties in a creative “co-petition” for something good.
Copyright Next Element Consulting, 2017
Last week our government shut down again, and the finger-pointing was at an all-time high. The problem isn’t that we have a gap. Differences and disagreements can be terrific grist for the mill.
The problem is how we are viewing and positioning ourselves relative to others. Drama is what happens when we struggle against each other to feel justified about our positions and unhealthy behaviors.
Asking “Who is responsible for the gap?” is the wrong question. We need a better way.
The questions we should be asking are:
What is my role in creating and perpetuating the gap?
Why am I invested in struggling against others?
What could I do to close the gap?
What could I do so others would feel safe enough to approach me?
Is there a third way that allows us to struggle together towards a common goal?
This is compassionate accountability.
Copyright 2018, Next Element Consulting, LLC
In part one of this two-part series, I argued that President Trump is not crazy or even mentally ill. He’s in distress. I demonstrated the highly predictable nature of his behavior and personality through the lens of the Process Communication Model® (PCM), a powerful behavioral communication framework that has helped improve communication and leadership for NASA, a former president, and Pixar studios, just to name a few.
Recognizing the positive traits, motivational needs, and predictable distress behavior is the first step in crafting a more effective leadership strategy. Step two is adapting how we communicate with each personality type in order to positively motivate them and reduce the unhealthy distress behavior.
As I described in part one, it is evident that the Promoter personality type is most prominent in Trump.
He will get get excitement and thrills and attention. If he doesn’t get it positively by winning for the good of America, he will get it negatively through creating negative drama.
Everyone is trying to figure out President Trump. A group of Psychologists even has gone public with its diagnosis.
My assessment is that Trump is not mentally ill, not even crazy. He is in distress. He’s been in distress for quite some time, probably on and off for his whole life, and more often than not since he started campaigning for president. And it seems to be getting worse. This has been cause for concern from many of his supporters. Increasingly, those working closely with him are struggling to find positive ways to contain his behavior and help him lead effectively.
Regardless of where you stand politically, it’s critical that we find healthy ways to positively motivate our President. We need strong, positive leadership in an increasingly chaotic and polarized world.
Many people think Trump is unpredictable and chaotic. Nothing could be further from the truth…if you know what to look for.
John Stumpf, former CEO of Wells Fargo, was fired for failing to stop some 5,000 employees from setting up phony accounts for customers. At his congressional hearing, Stumpf, a man who had risen to the top of the world’s most valuable bank, seemed utterly unable to read a room.
Oscar Munoz and his company, United Airlines, was publicly ridiculed for weeks following completely inadequate attempts at an apology for dragging a man off an overbooked plane. How could the CEO of the world’s third largest airline be so out of touch?
Why does president Trump seem to get more and more impulsive and misogynistic on Twitter the longer he is in power, even when his behavior directly undercuts the support he needs to be successful?