Great leaders have a presence. Every great boss or project manager that I have worked with has had something in the way that they carry themselves that spoke to not only their ability to lead, but their willingness to lead. The other commonality between all these great leaders that I have had the opportunity to observe and learn from was they had it from the start. I am not suggesting that they were born with some innate leadership gene, but I am saying that from the very first time that I met them they already had that presence and sense of self that they were ready to lead. I am sure that in many cases had I met them earlier in their careers my reaction may have been completely different. Over my many years in project management across almost every industry I have gotten very good and identifying great leaders quickly. It comes from not only watching how the leader interacts with those that he is leading, but how their team responds to them.
President Trump has had a couple of rough weeks and I think it may be an issue of leadership. Now before you send your angry emails give me a moment to explain. I am not saying that President Trump is not a great leader. I think his business success and the loyalty he has engendered in past and current employees is a testament to that fact. However, I think he has struggled in translating his business style leadership over to the political sphere. It does not help matters that as he makes this transition he is under siege by an incredibly hostile press and I think the combination of negative microscope and leadership style transition is forcing errors on his part. I do think we are going to see President Trump turn the corner at some point and make those adjustments necessary and his first foreign trip might be just the thing to give him the breathing room necessary to focus on making that change.
Now I was talking about leadership because I did want to highlight the difference between President Trump and President Obama.
Here is President Obama meeting the King of Saudi Arabia.
Contrast this with President Trump meeting the King of Saudi Arabia. (It is at the 4 minute mark in the video.)
Did you see the demonstrable differences in those interactions? One of those Presidents greets the King as an equal signifying that they will be moving forward as partners and the other President signals that he will be leading from behind. Now some of you will predictably defend the Obama greeting as President Obama respecting their culture or some other half-cocked nonsense, but that is not the way it was perceived by the countries of the Middle-East. They saw exactly what it appeared to be with the President accepting a subservient role to the King of Saudi Ariba. This image was further cemented when President Obama went on his worldwide apology tour where he essentially he cast doubts on American exceptionalism and our ability to lead the world. The King of Saudi Arabia met an American President not afraid to lead today and the world stood witness.