You can tell a leader by his or her team

Haven’t you raised your eyebrows recently about the continuous stream of people coming and going in President’s Trump team? By the time you have figured out who is going to fill which role a new announcement hits the wires to inform us that the new joiner has resigned already. Did we think that Michael Flynn set a record as National Security Adviser resigning after only 24 days and then he was beaten by Anthony Scaramucci after only 10 days in the role of Communications Director. Infights, the President himself continuously sniping at his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Chief of Staff being undermined by the ex-new Communications Director. It doesn’t seem to stop. Rather than focusing on how to “Make America Great Again” it seems that the focus is more on the daily roll call…” who on earth is part of the team, who is leaving and who is coming”. Although the legendary football (soccer) coach Alex Fergusson once said “ever change a winning team” I doubt that he had the pace of change in mind that President Trump is displaying.

How did you put your team together? Did you play it safe by only bringing people on board with whom you’d worked in the past? How many “outsiders” did you invite to join? How did you ensure sufficient diversity in the make-up of your team? How did you organize a proper debate and a meeting of minds where your team members felt comfortable to disagree and state their opinions, where team members were prepared to learn from others and where ultimately they were keen to jointly solve problems and pursue opportunities by a shared philosophy and objectives. These are typical questions that a leader is faced with. It’s undoubtedly very comfortable to deal with like-minded people who get along well and who don’t quarrel. On the out-set no one seems keen to work in an environment where people have different opinions on most issues and where they do their utmost to let their own thoughts prevail. However, when you as a leader take care of a respectful process where advocacy and inquiry are properly balanced, where ultimately the greater cause (Make America Great Again?) gets priority over and above personal objectives and ambitions then you’re like to get better decisions out of it.

A predecessor of President Trump, John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the U.S.A. did exactly that. He attracted the brightest of the brightest to help him to advance not just America but mankind. Whether they were Democrats or Republicans, whether they came from academia or big corporations, like Robert McNamara from Ford, and whether they were known to the President or not they all shared the President’s beliefs especially about what they could do for their country. Like his successor JFK had a close relative as his personal confidante, his brother Robert, in the role of Attorney General, a formal role in the US Government. Something different than the unofficial role as First Daughter or First Son in Law.

We all realize that when your team is dysfunctional nothing will be achieved so priority number 1 is not your strategy nor anything else but getting the right people onboard, creating a safe and respectful environment and finally by supporting your people to get the best out of themselves and others. New Generation Leaders do exactly that. Are you such a leader?

– Wim Dufourné