Tag Archives: politics

Petulance, Parenting, and the President

When you think about how you lead your organization, communicate with your colleagues and customers, and even how you parent, don't be like President Trump.

Earlier this morning, I was thinking about the way I coach clients. My colleagues and I always preach the important of message AND delivery. Message matters, first and foremost. But the way in which the message is delivered has a huge impact on the way the message is received.

And then on my drive into the office, I was thinking about the way my wife and I parent. Again, message matters. We teach our children to think about what they say before they say it. And again, delivery also matters. We teach our children to think about how they will say what they want to say. And we practice what we preach with them. Before we discuss something important with them, we think about the message and the delivery.

I coach my clients to think before they speak, and to realize that they will hurt their credibility with colleagues and clients if they appear overly emotional, and if they react aggressively when they don’t like something. In fact, I am working with someone right now on how to project a calm, cool, thoughtful demeanor when faced with aggression.

My wife and I are working right now with our son about how to react in a mature way when something does not go the way he wants it to go. We had a discussion with him last week about how to react when someone does something he does not like.

I could go on and on and on. My approach to executive coaching and parenting is very similar.

And then I think about our President. This blog is rarely about politics… and on the few occasions that it delves into the political arena, I am never writing about substance or policy. I am usually writing about persona, delivery and public face.

Almost every time I hear or read something from our President, I cringe. Not because of the policy. I disagree with some of what he does, and I agree with some. But it is in the way he speaks, how he reacts, the things that cause him to stomp his feet that concerns me. The way in which we speak and handle situations creates a brand and a reputation. And I want my president to be someone who gathers information, thinks, consults, thinks, discusses, thinks some more, and then reacts. I don’t want a president who reacts immediately, and yes, petulantly. The immediate, emotional, petulant response always makes me question the leadership qualities of the person.

We are not even two months into the Trump administration. I did not vote for him, but I had high (perhaps naive) hopes that President Trump would distance himself from candidate Trump. And in less than two months, I have realized that my hopes were unrealistic.

If I were coaching President Trump, (or parenting him… funny visual, there) I would tell him to slow down. Stop reacting to things that have nothing to do with your presidency, like TV show ratings, your rivalry with Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Saturday Night Live. As a point of contrast, no one was on the receiving end of more lampooning from SNL than George W. Bush. The writers at SNL crushed him for eight years, made fun of his intelligence, the way he speaks, the decisions of his administration on a weekly basis, for eight years. And he never reacted. He never let us know if he watched, if he cared, what he thought. Because on the spectrum of things a president needs to care about, a Saturday Night Live sketch is pretty low on the list.

The president needs to focus on the things that matter to our country. The president has an enormous amount of information coming at him all day, every day. Show us that you look at things in calm, reasonable, rational ways. A president who reacts quickly and emotionally to everything he doesn’t like is a president who scares the s!&t out of me, and a lot of other people.

In other words, the way you communicate has a huge impact on the way you are perceived. And the way you are perceived has a huge impact on your ability to lead over the long term.

I promised you this post was not about the policies of President Trump… that is a topic not appropriate for this blog. It is about his communication style. And that communication style is a huge problem… for him, and for the country. The long term implications are significant and not good.

When you think about the way you lead your organization, communicate with your colleagues and customers, and even the way you parent… don’t be like President Trump.

At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in Leadership Communications, Public Speaking, and Executive-Level Business Presentations. To learn more, e-mail us at info@TheLatimerGroup.com

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How to Discuss Politics – or Anything – Respectfully (Yes, It CAN Be Done!)

Earlier this week, my wife and I, along with some good friends, attended our first political “town hall” event, hosted by Chris Murphy, the junior senator from Connecticut and a Democrat. We obviously are living in a highly-charged and emotional political climate in the United States, and these kind of town hall events are becoming… Continue Reading

Robb Willer, Political Polarization, and the Essence of Persuasion

We have written recently about the political divide in our country and how ineffective so many of us are in our communication on political topics. No one listens, everyone judges, and everyone believes that they are morally right in their beliefs. We are all living in our own echo chambers, where we distance ourselves from… Continue Reading

The Sad Truth of “Post-Truth”

Last week I had a conversation with a long-time friend and business partner, Mary Ann. And she shared with me that the Oxford Dictionaries has selected “post-truth” as 2016’s international word of the year, after the contentious Brexit referendum and an equally divisive US presidential election caused usage of the adjective to skyrocket, according to… Continue Reading

The Powerful Idea of Leadership Transference

Leadership can mean different things at different times to different people. But a few things are non-negotiable. And while sitting on an airplane the other day, I was reading a short essay about Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the concept of “transference” came up. The point of the essay was that during his presidency, Roosevelt was not… Continue Reading

The Death of Spin Communication

The recent election cycle in the United States has made one thing very clear to me… that we have now reached a critical breaking point in our tolerance for “spin” communication. What is “spin” you ask? Anyone who lives in the USA knows exactly what it is, because that is all we hear anymore in… Continue Reading

What Happens When Politicians Forget to Be Leaders?

Today’s post was written by Whitney Sweeney, Director of Client Relationships at The Latimer Group At The Latimer Group, we teach the importance of leadership communication. To be a leader people will want to follow, you must know how to deliver your message in a way that people will hear and internalize. You must be… Continue Reading

Can We Disagree Without Being Disagreeable? (If wishing made it so…)

I prefer speaking with people who think differently than I do. It’s more interesting. It’s more challenging. It makes me think. It opens my eyes to other perspectives. And sometimes it makes me angry. But it’s all 100% healthy. And unfortunately our society – in business and politics, and especially on social media – is… Continue Reading

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