8. TRUMP’S LEADERSHIP: INNOVATION VS. TRANSGRESSION

8. case study

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There is no question that Trump is a leader. Leadership is challenging normative constraints, reforming norms, thinking outside the box. This necessitates demystifying the sacred, listening to the wise, questioning the wizards, challenging the divine and befriending the devil. An authentic leader misbehaves by being honest, and inspiring people to different ways of thinking; mastering leadership means being bold but not being reckless or acting selfishly in ways that are dismissively of global realities. Leadership is about caring for one’s family while refusing to betray the global family for personal interests. Trump’s pattern of filing for bankruptcy at the expense of his contractors and investors reveals a total lack of compassion for others.

He has some very good ideas, but in his business dealings he has demonstrated the self-interest of a born dictator, seeking to win from every vantage point and not seek win-win solutions. He is a player who has hurt his partners by taking advantage of loopholes in the legal system to bribe and intimidate regulators and legislators. His mode of operation is sycophantic of his rivals and systematically stealing respectability by disqualifying their character. He has demonstrated leadership of a pirate and not captain. He is a manipulator and an imposter — not a conciliator or a unifier. He is not a guide to fair partnerships and happy balanced communities. Instead, he has built towers to himself bearing his name, creating a new economic norm in taking people’s money to build his own fortune rather than raising the profit for all. He has not built Levitt-towns but palaces for the rich and the vain, the leaders of world piracy who emulate him and mirror his own aspirations for unlimited power.

Effectiveness

Is Trump functioning effectively as a leader? From the formal perspective, effectiveness is a matter of the degree of optimal conflict resolution. We define ineffectiveness as the state of personally and interpersonally compounding conflicts. Ultimately, Trump’s functioning is a question of the extent to which his dominance syndrome distorts reality and provokes unwelcome interventions, such as shifting finances away from the public’s needs by wastefully investing these funds on ammunitions.

The appropriate means of responding as a leader is setting a role model in dealing with conflict, thereby fostering a positive attitude. In contrast, Trump introduces a polarizing attitude in his outlook in partnerships, domestic and external. Trump has reached the pinnacle of the power he has sought and now he is scared. Suffering from multiple fears causes him to scapegoat others rather than accept responsibility for his own mistakes. While he is super-critical, he is afraid of criticism. He is a transgressor and he accuses others as criminals. He insists on putting Hillary in jail because he is terrified that somebody might put him in jail. Being scared leads him to attack preemptively good people and hurt others on all fronts.

Trump has a habit of alienating people who want to respect him. He confronts at every angle — domestic and international — infuriating environmentalists and women along the way. His reign creates one paradox after another to the point of the ludicrous: the president accuses the government’s intelligence and the media of targeting him while embracing the enemy, Russia. Instead of limiting his communications to the time-honored process of the press as intermediary, he is his own spokesperson, tweeting his feelings.

Trump’s aggressive personality manifested throughout his life and during the campaign. It is only intensified in the Oval Office. The American public must understand that we have chosen a dictator as the president of the USA and as the world’s leader.

In our contemporary times, a leader should not think only his personal agenda. He needs to think nationally and globally. He needs to express care for all classes, not only the rich; he needs to protect the rights of not only the gun-owners, but their victims; he needs to care for the broadest constituency, not just those who elected him into power.

If you break up from the past normative boundaries, you better follow a superior justice, introducing what is missing in the world today: mutual respect and not heavy-handedly dismissively insulting everybody. Surrendering to the superior power illuminated by the Moral Science means you automatically evolve to a higher level: you do not alienate, but engage with respect; you do not inflict hurt on your rivals, you guide them to a kinder relationship.

The problem of good leadership is drawing the line between innovation and transgression, between detachment and insults. Leadership means having the courage to do things right even if unpopular. Right means a concern for the bigger picture: global survival. Leaders do not identify with narrow interest groups but with morality and justice for all as a wider normative order extending beyond traditional partisanship.

Evaluation

Conflict resolution is defined relationally as mastery, cooperation and mutual respect. While Trump is medically considered well-functioning, relationally we may identify him as suffering. He is very conflicted internally, as well as externally, alienating friends, family and foes. This disposition diminishes one’s capacity for leadership.

Moral Science’s diagnosis of Trump is “extreme dominant antagonism’”. At an acceptable level of tension, it is a wellness personality type prone to aggressive leadership. However, at a certain level of intensity this is a disorder. We know it in the Wizard of Oz as the character of the Cowardly Lion as a personality liability needing the intervention of a wizard. Trump is dominant antagonistic like a lion, yet handicapped in the process due to a lack of trust. He is paranoid of being attacked by lions, and therefore becomes scared and very defensive.

When anxiety leads to massive distortions and extremely intense measures to protect oneself from perceived dangers we may talk of malignant antagonistic dominance. This is the concern expressed by Trump’s critics as a reality-distorting president, perceiving America as carnage, identifying enemies around him, distrusting the press talking about fake news, judges, immigrants the past president the national intelligence services, even military leaders, yet praising the enemy.

Trump needs insight that will allow him to proceed in moderation instead of extremism, cooperation instead of antagonism and mutual respect instead of alienation. He can use psycho-education for insight because he is very upset and his behaviors are disturbing not only himself, his family, and his nation but America’s friends and foes.

 

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