The best thing that could happen to Donald Trump would be for him to lose the election. The redemption of his soul depends on it. In my new book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass, I explain why the most enduring and transformative leadership lessons result from humiliating failures. Humiliation is the entry point of humility, and humility is crucial to leadership.
Trump is the most un-humble of leaders. His life, business, and presidential campaign have been largely about one thing: the aggrandizement of himself. What American leader in your lifetime has ever spoke like this?
- “I’m intelligent. Some people would say I’m very, very, very intelligent.”
- "I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created."
- “I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.”
- “Oftentimes when I was sleeping with one of the top women in the world I would say to myself, thinking about me as a boy from Queens, ‘Can you believe what I’m getting?’”
- “Show me somebody without an ego and I’ll show you a loser.”
- “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
- “Part of the beauty of me is that I am very rich.”
Who talks like that? Even if a presidential candidate thought those things, they’d at least be classy enough not to say them out loud. Any person who has to build himself up so desperately and incessantly is masking a much deeper issue; an impoverished soul.
The number one rule of leadership is this: It’s not about you. True and effective leadership isn’t about the leader, it’s about those being led. Ultimately, Trump will become a better leader if he fails in a huge way. If, on the other hand, he is elected President while his ego is still gigantic and his soul is still cavernously empty, he will serve no one but himself. And his ego will grow bigger as his soul grows darker.
The beauty of a spectacular failure is that it smashes the ego to smithereens. After getting an emotional ass-kicking, you can finally admit that you are your own problem. You begin to see that you are not the center of the world, just another member of it. As Walt Disney once said, “You may not realize it when it happens to you, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
In soberly assessing the wreckage that you’ve made, you begin to make what I call a Holy Shift. You move from selfishness to selflessness. You shift from “what can I get?” to “what can I contribute?” Instead of aiming to acquire more power, you strive to make others more powerful. Rather than basing your success on how well you market yourself, you deepen the value you bring to others through the expression of your genuine gifts, talents, and authenticity. Leaders are successful to the extent that they help others become successful.
Sooner or later, every leader who flies too close to the sun will plummet back to earth. As Clint Hurdle, coach of the Pittsburgh Pirates notes in the foreword to A Leadership Kick in the Ass, there two types of leaders; those who have been humbled, and those who are about to be. As unlikely as it seems, the humbling of Trump is inevitable.
If you don’t like Donald Trump, don’t vote for him. But if you genuinely care about him, if you want to help save Trump’s soul, if you want to enhance his leadership with humility, you won’t vote for him. Either way, Trump wins if we help him lose.
Bill Treasurer is chief encouragement officer of Giant Leap Consulting, a courage-building company. For over two decades, Treasurer has worked with thousands of leaders across the globe, strengthening their leadership influence. His newest book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass, provides practical tips for building confidence and humility. His clients include NASA, Saks Fifth Avenue, UBS Bank, Walsh Construction, Lenovo, Hugo Boss, Children’s Miracle Network, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. More at www.BillTreasurer.com and www.CourageBuilding.com.