7 Effective Leadership Behaviours from the 2016 Presidential Elections

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7 leadership behaviors from 2016 presidential elections

Observing the behaviour of both candidates after the election results were completed reminded me of effective leadership behaviours and also some that were obviously poor choices.

Before I go any further, here is a disclaimer - I didn't favour either candidate. Also a disclosure - I'm a Malaysian and so didn't vote either, although my 14-year son is a Trumpet and was cheering The Donald as the results were streamed out on election night.

1.Graciousness & Respect
The election campaigns from both sides were so full of vitriol and unprofessional behaviours. However, listening to Donald Trump deliver his acceptance speech definitely showed a positive leadership behaviour - graciousness. He used the stage to lift up the vanquished and got his supporters to appreciate Hillary Clinton's long service to the country.

He even called President Obama, "a very good man", although he has been vilifying Obama for so many years. Even if it felt hollow to some people, there's still the feel good factor. It's an edifying soundbite. I'm reminded of General Douglas MacArthur telling his aides to treat the defeated Japanese people with respect.

Clinton's concession speech was also an example of being gracious despite losing. No one can win all the time, so it's important for leaders to practice graciousness in defeat as well.

Victory and failure are two sides of the same coin. Good leaders should always behave in a dignified way whichever way the results go.

2. Unifying

Trump's acceptance speech had the element of assuring the defeated that he was to be the President of all Americans and not just those who supported or voted him.

He even stated that he wants to work with those who didn't support him and requesting their help.

In any organisation, there will be those who don't support the leadership and the leader has to continue leading the whole organisation and not just those who visibly support the leader.

A military leader who takes divided troops into battle is guaranteed of failure. A united team makes success smoother.

3. Hope

I'm pretty certain Trump didn't delude himself into thinking that unifying the country was a walk in the park. Despite this he delivered a message of hope.

Leaders must never betray their doubts in public. They should always come across as confident. Confidence is contagious. So are doubt and fear.

Since confidence breeds positive results and fear negative results, why should a leader choose the latter?

4. Gratitude

Trump also thanked his supporters generally and specific people too for his victory. That's truly what a leader should do.

We have all heard that a Leader credits her staff for success and not keep the accolades for herself. Sharing praise builds up your team.

Besides showing gratitude to your own followers, leaders should also recognise the contributions of those outside of the organisation who maintain law and order. Trump thanked the Secret Service and the NYPD effusively. I don't recall a President-Elect thanking his Security Service detail.

6. Buck Stops Here

This is the other half of the phrase that, leaders share credit with their followers but takes the blame for failure.

Unfortunately, days after the results were announced, Clinton blamed the FBI for her defeat. Numerous liberal media outlets have put the blame squarely on her for alienating voters through her elitist behaviour and also for not having a clear message.

7. Deliver Bad News Yourself

A leader has the choice of delegating the delivery of good news to his deputy. Bad news must, must, must be delivered personally by him.

This is where Clinton failed by not even addressing her supporters directly. First John Podesta told everyone to go home. Within 15 minutes, Trump announced that Clinton conceded. This is how Democrats learned they had lost - from the Republicans.

Liberal media hosts have stated that she locked herself up in her room to cry. Someone else mentioned she didn't prepare a concession speech - that's bad excuse. A good leader is well prepared. If she had cried during her concession speech, she would have connected with her supporter at a spiritual level rather than leaving it at the cerebral plane.

Leaders have no excuse in not being with their people in bad times. Just being there is reassuring.

I hope you find these useful and keep these in mind as you lead your organisation or team.

If there is any other effective leadership behaviours you observed during the 2016 Presidential Elections, please comment below.



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