Trump must change the ‘r’ in enrage to ‘g’

Trump must change the ‘r’ in enrage to ‘g’

Whatever else you say about President Trump he is perceptive. He saw the frustration voters all over the world were suffering. From Britain to America, from Russia to the Ukraine, from China to North Korea the mood was “we deserve better than this”. Observing and cashing in on a mood of dissent is how most politicians of note begin their careers. “A” for observation. What happens afterwards determines the value of the disruption.

Bringing a mob to the boil is not difficult. Calming them down afterwards, getting them to accept that change will entail cost as well as benefit, is trickier. You need two stanchions to achieve this. Substance of what you plan to do must be robust and that means logical, at least so that people understand it. Trump is sadly lacking substance, even to the point where he already appears to be re-running the election (or the next election) campaign. Perhaps it is the only thing he knows how to do. “F” for substance.

The second foundation for leading is good communications. In a world where we have the best technical means of communication we could ever have imagined we still repeatedly fail to understand what sending a simple message between one person and another is about. Trump is demonstrating this global weakness in spades. His approach of confidence and directness is something good bosses do. A leader is there to lead. The question is, which is the best way to do so?

As someone said ‘honey gets you more of what you want than vinegar’. So far Mr Trump has splashed vinegar all over the media, his main source – even in Twitter-time – of sending a coherent and credible message. Does he really think that bickering with correspondents at his press conferences will convince voters that he knows what he is doing? Is branding the whole of the Fourth Estate as liars likely to bring sensible attention to his policies? Are snide asides like ‘here’s another beautiful one’ the stuff of decent social intercourse? It is cheap and degrading to the office as well as to the man. “Z” for communications.

Stature, the foundation for all leaders, is what Trump lacks. You get it by being above the mob, not below it. Stature is the attribute of people with generous spirits who devote their lives largely to improving the lot of others. It has little to do with bullying, expensively-cut suits or hairpieces. It has nothing at all to do with fake news – or falling for it.

Stature has to do with one thing only – how you deal with your fellow human beings.

Stature is what makes someone a good leader. And good leaders don’t tell, they ask. Their questions are not the boring “how are you today?” type. They are creative, imaginative questions putting the questioner in the place of the respondent. Their purpose is to transmit a message; their method is to ask a question. They seek to engage not to enrage.

Mr T needs a mentor and coach to help him ask questions, engage with his constituency and gain stature in the world. We could do it – and we’d do it for free as our small contribution to world safety.

Perhaps you ought to let him know?

Good morning
John Bittleston

Terrific Mentors International “Creative questioning wins” is an eight-session role-play programme that works for everyone. Ask about it at