EHT BIZARRO World of Trump in America (& a bit on China & Russia too)

Heads up, this is not short… TL;DR   and is meant to be read in chunks (for those wish to read some throttled and seriously restrained comments on the, alleged, deranged and imbecilic president of America)…

(Yes, the title – ‘THE‘ is reversed…)

Part I  A Strange America

So. What is happening to America and to democracy around the world? What happened to leadership that is democratic (not talking about the democratic party here)?  What happened to civility between individuals of American? What happened to respect and equality?

It should be pretty darn clear there is one clearly obvious nexus point for a great deal of this. All you need to do is look at who is sitting, undeservedly, in the White House… And many of us can guarantee that if the Electoral College had to do it again, they would not vote this person into the White House again (especially when the American people decidedly voted for someone else other than Trump – I believe it was Hillary Clinton, right…).

 

We live in Bizarro land. Yes, that is correct, we live in a world where the opposite of everything is taking place. If you have been choking on your own bile, every morning, ever since the 2016 Presidential election, there is a good reason for it – the ‘MOST’ wrong person is sitting in the White House.

As a result of who is sitting in the White House, here is a short list of what has been making you choke and gag, every day (likely all day):

  • Illegal insider trading taking place on the White House grounds (corruption, right?) – and no concern from the president…
  • We have an American ambassador Pete Hoekstra (Trump’s choice), to the Netherlands disputing his own words (this bullet is about a lack of integrity and honor). Hoekstra had stated in a 2015 conference on terrorism hosted by the right-wing David Horowitz Freedom Center – “The Islamic movement has now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos. Chaos in the Netherlands, there are cars being burnt, there are politicians that are being burnt … and yes there are no-go zones in the Netherlands.” But in a later interview (Dec 2017) with the Dutch current affairs programme Nieuwsuur, Hoekstra stated that content was fake news – even though Nieuwsuur happily rolled the clip from the 2015 interview on air for Hoekstra. And no concern from the president as to how this looks for America, its people and its leaders…
  • Firing of Inspector Generals for no valid reason, other than they were doing their jobs to stop/prevent illegalities, fraud and other behind the scenes shenanigans – it seems, allegedly, this president has no regard for law and order and the watchdogs looking to remove current and potential corruption and illegalities…
  • Members of Congress and the Senate who, before this current president was voted in by the Electoral College, called the president to be by various monikers and endlessly mocked the large bodied and clownish person. But ever since this person got into the White House, these same Congressmen and Senators are kowtowing to this president, licking his boots (not literally BUT BLOODY WELL CLOSE) and allowing corruption of the law to take place (such as the emoluments clause where many believe this president is guilty of)
  • This current inhabitant of the White House relentlessly lambasted Obama for going golfing but look at what is taking place. This occupant of 1600 is going golfing at something like 22% of his time in office (he has reportedly been on the grounds of his golf courses or played golf elsewhere 266 times since becoming President, and that’s as of May 24, 2020), at tax payer expense and at his own country clubs (NOTE: there was no legal divestiture for his business investments/control) – remember how he famously stated in 2016 “I’m not going to have time to go play golf.”
  • Installing a new State Department secretary gutting the State Dept of most of the seasoned, experience, knowledgeable and respected bureaucrats – then not filling many of those positions. Do you remember that individual, that new secretary was Rex Tillerson… the oil CEO? Tillerson’s focus was not on diplomacy…
  • The current White House occupant plays down, disregards or ignores calamities that have struck America – remember him throwing toilet paper to people who needed it (in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria) and he believed it to be some sort of game.
  • What about ensconcing his unqualified children into very senior White House roles – what did they bring to the White House – or rather, what have they achieved that is worthy of talking about (no, not getting licenses in China to sell products) – many labeled these moves as nepotism but were unable to gain any traction on the violation of nepotism laws (we will need a future unbiased federal court to rule on this but that will be a long time out)
  • Can we talk about the 2018 elimination of the NSC directorate for global health and security and bio-defense that would have handled the CoViD-19 problem in 2020 with speed and efficiency (it was eliminated, allegedly, because it was an Obama creation)
  • Sheesh, this could continue on for page after page but you get the idea – we really hope so.

 

We, America, have someone who is supposed to be a world leader, sitting in the White House. Yet, instead of being that leader this individual has instead usurped: leadership, decency, democracy, a global role model status for anyone who wants to grow and be respected and become a leader themselves. (Note: the United States is not used in this paper because we are not a united country – we are more divided than ever before.)

We have people who want to flaunt the old 2nd Amendment, the right to bear arms. The 2nd amendment was completely relevant for the militia at the time when the British were prevented from taking over the American colonies in the 1700’s.

Yet today, we have many contemporary individuals today who have gun stashes of upwards of 20, 30 and 50 different weapons (with thousands of rounds) and these folks are not weapons’ collectors. As a former Marine, I actually like weapons as well but I have no need to collect weapons for fear of an invasion. Although, in case our government ever turns dictatorial, arms collection here will become a different endeavor…

But. Who is going to invade America?

  • Has Russian been building up a secret army just off the coast of our country, but are so well camouflaged that we cannot locate or detect them?
  • Maybe it is the Chinese with their Communistic world view?
  • Or even worse, is it the poor hungry desperate immigrants without legal documentation invading America with their unseen deadly weapons?

Today, in 2020, we have a military, along with the National Guard. Neither of these entities were present back in the days of yore.

Do not get me wrong, as a former Marine, if this region I live in allowed weapons, I would buy a few as well – just not 20 – 50 of them or go storming some local state capital flaunting the weapons…

 

Part II             Logic, Strategy and Diplomacy

If decent, logical, serious individuals “STILL” have to continue to convince the American public of the wrong doings or ill-conceived ideas and just bad thought processes of the current president and it is not sinking in – something is wrong with a large percentage of Americans.

We have a president who is, allegedly, illiterate, indecent, corrupt, discriminatory (okay – racist) and who’s IQ, also allegedly, is not in a very decent range of intelligence. Besides lacking leadership skills, this individual also severely lacks any real degree of communication and diplomacy skill sets. If he did, America would not be seen in the light it is across the globe.

This individual cannot string together a sentence that makes any sense.  Well, hang on a moment. It may make sense if ‘you’ went to the same high school and college with this person and ‘you’ had the same classes with this person. We have no idea how well this individual did in school at any point.

So, you did not do so great in high school or college or grad school (wait, this person did not go beyond undergrad status) – so what? Grades reflect what one learns up to that point, with or without good teachers or a good educational system. What matters is if you continue to grow and do better after not doing so well at any level. What matters is if you continue to be better in your life.

Forbes magazine put out a story, as well as others, in Feb 28, 2019 where:

  • Michael Cohen testified to Congress that, under directions from Trump, he sent letters to Trump’s high schools, colleges and the College Board (creator of the SAT),threatening them with legal action and jail time if they ever released Trump’s academic records. Cohen provided a record of one such letter sent to the president of Fordham University, which Trump attended for two years before transferring to complete his undergraduate degree at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Trump’s high school has confirmed receiving an identical letter, while the University of Pennsylvania and the College Board declined to comment.

What is wrong is wrong…  That is not hard to see or to fathom.  If someone who is supposed to be a role model states: “Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” – that is not someone you are supposed to look up to or follow.  That is, unless you yourself are amongst the callous, gross, indecent minded imbecilic Cretin of the gutters. There is supposed to be something called, respect for others, no matter who they are. Wait a moment – there’s more. There is also:

  • decency,
  • equality,
  • honesty,
  • compassion,
  • empathy,
  • integrity,
  • ethics and
  • non-discrimination and
  • diversity

Where has all of the above disappeared to from this current administration. It is as if the mass majority of individuals the current president selects and installs into a senior office turns out to be a dishonest, greedy, corrupt individual.

  • Who in their right mind, in the top role position of the EPA builds a SCIF (a secure office) in their own office, when there is already an existing one, one floor away? Or has him/her chauffeured around in an armored vehicle when the position does not rate such a vehicle. Scott Pruitt wanted a ‘secure’ ‘sound-proof’ phone booth… That position does not require that kind of security.
  • What about taking private jet rides around the country, at tax payer expense…
  • What about going shopping on a federal jet, at tax payer expense (this was, allegedly, Mnuchin and his wife back in 2017 – recall Louise Linton’s extravagant and glorious exit and pose from the plane with the bags of purchased goods).
  • There is so much more that could go here as well and if you did not live and breathe solely in a filter bubble, then you will know that there is more. But if you isolated yourself to a safe zone of like-minded individuals, none of whom dared to grow and venture forth to look at other possibilities, at other avenues – then it is likely you only know one silo or one tunnel vision cone of information. What you believe may be completely wrong. But due to being in that filter bubble, it is difficult to convince you to expand and do better.

 

Part III           The World

What happened to America’s global role of leadership and statesmanship? Again, a certain specific individual is what happened. America has become a laughing stock of and to the world. Our allies are alienated because of this individual. Our leadership on the world stage has eroded horridly to lower levels. It is only through the guts and leadership of certain state governors and mayors and some business leaders and numerous American citizens doing all they can to keep our head and chin up in the world.

As we can see, there are numerous leaders in other countries who want to emulate Trump and the fake news hoopla. And they have been as well as gaining incredible autocratic and dictatorial powers where the citizens of those countries (Philippines, China, Russia, Hungary, Brazil, etc.) are simply screwed and cannot seem to get out of the rut they find themselves in because those leaders have the military to back up any areas that the dictators/autocrats desire.

 

Look at China

There is no freedom of speech, no freedom of choice there. China forcibly removes freedom at every avenue it can, in order to “preserve the safety of people within its borders and preventing threats to a stable society” in their country from other sources.  This is a complete sham and the Chinese citizens are not all aware of it – because of the Chinese leadership’s control of all media and avenues of travel.

You also have to take into consideration that the Chinese leader made himself, ahh, sorry, the Chinese National People’s Congress voted that there be no term limits on the current leader of China. How nice is that – Dictator for Life, sorry – what was meant was, President for life of a country with 1.3+ billion people. This outcome was determined as follows: Two delegates voted against the change and three abstained, out of 2,964 votes. Nice, eh…? Almost a clean sweep.

Remember the Hong Kong citizenry acting to retain its freedom in late 2019 and the Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey tweeted an image that read “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” (By the by – EVERYONE should stand with Hong Kong as they lose their right to total freedom; loss of a free press, free speech, free movement, facial recognition surveillance {even more than what we have in America} and become a more communistic country – for those that choose to stay in Hong Kong – many will find some way out of that island country over the next several years – an exodus.) Before he deleted due to comments and stress from various avenues of contention. But – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver finally came around and supports Morey’s right to free speech. Of course, in return, China was appalled and had the gall to come back with:

  • The Chinese-run television network said it was “strongly dissatisfied” with Silver’s remarks.
  • “We oppose Silver’s claim to support Morey’s right of free expression. We believe that any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech,” CCTV said in its statement in Chinese, which was translated by CNBC.

In reality, how in the heck can China, a Communistic society (but they really want to be Capitalistic, don’t they…) DARE to say that free expression that challenges ‘anything’ is not within the scope of freedom of speech???!!!!  Not when the Chinese government does not allow its own citizenry to any of it. China controls the media. China controls the countries internet access and continues to tweak their ‘Chinese Firewall’ in order to censor everything that travels over the air or via cables.

  • People are not allowed to talk about leaders in a bad light, as other countries do.
  • Any word that the Chinese government deems to worthy of censorship is blocked from the internet and not allowed on any media. Here is a fairly good article on “68 Things You Cannot Say on China’s Internethttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/24/world/asia/china-internet-censorship.html or this other article “In China, you can’t say these wordshttps://share.america.gov/in-china-you-cant-say-these-words/
  • Take the Uighur (or Uyghur) situation in the XinJiang region. The Chinese government deems them to be dangerous and has razed many of the Uighur towns to the ground and put the people who once lived there, into camps (imagine something, kind of like a concentration camp – just not as horrific). Yet the Chinese calls them re-education camps where the Uighurs are required to shave their beards, removing that identity aspect. All movement is controlled by surveillance cameras (everywhere in Uighur inhabited areas, not just the camps) and identities. Uighurs are not even allowed to have certain tools because they could be construed as weapons. The Chinese have even gone so far as to engrave certain cutting tools with the owner’s identities on the tool AND then are required to check it out and return it like a library book (complete control of those tools) – controlled by the police.
  • People of China face public shaming for spitting in the streets (it can be caught on camera and put up on a large billboard – live video) – but wait, it does not end there. The citizens can be assessed points in the Chinese “Social Point System”, which started in 2014. It is about regulating individual and group behavior for activities such as: bad driving, smoking in non-smoking areas, not paying bills on time, spending too much on video games. Now, if you acquire too many points, you can be: banned from flying or catching a train; banned from luxury options (like 1st class seats); throttling internet speeds; being banned from the best schools (including your children). Think about that kind of restriction in the western world.
  • China wants to own the SCS (South China Seas) instead of sharing, stating that territorial waters belongs to China and not shared amongst, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, and says, basically that
    • there is no ‘freedom of navigation’ in that area to foreign military/navies
    • and going as far as building man-made islands and militarizing them to support the Chinese claim, even though the Hague is on the side of the Philippines as to the waterways is not owned by China

So, for a leader of one country to put their Big Brother restrictions on citizens of another country and expect other nations to kowtow “their own” draconian methods of “lack of freedom of speech” or “lack of freedom of action” – what does that does mean, hmmm…? 

How can the leader of a country with all these restrictions say they have a stable society when the society is controlled by the government and military?

The people:

  • do not have any true freedom
  • cannot congregate
  • cannot vote bad leaders out either (so it seems)

What do you believe, does China have a ‘stable society’ or that free speech threatens another country’s national sovereignty?

            Chinese citizens will never see this paper within the borders of China because of the content of this paper.

 

Russian president – Putin. What can you make of this other president for life? He basically owns Russia and the people are somewhat locked into a state of hopelessness and are unable to do anything. It is somewhat hard to figure out how the people just do not create a national up-rising force Putin out, so we will not see that happen.

But how does a country’s President become a billionaire? It has been reported by several sources, one of which is the CIA that Putin has anywhere from $70 – $200 billion stashed away – yes, BILLION. Reportedly, he is at the $22 Billion mark. How does that happen, legally?

And do not get your hopes up to run against Putin because competition against him appear to have bad josh, bad luck. They die. They get poisoned. They gain criminal charges and if you have criminal charges in Russia, you cannot run for top offices, so they say. And let’s not forget the military and the underworld henchmen who just might, out of their love for Putin (yeah, right) take out the competition and it then becomes complete deniability for Putin and his party.

 

There is just so much more to be said about Putin, Xi, Maduro (Venezuela), János Áder (Hungary), Duterte (Philippines) and even more about Trump.

But where do we go from here? How do we do it? Well, education is one of the first steps – educating everyone and allowing everyone to vote is a second step. Ensuring EQUALITY is flat out the foundation and cornerstone of EVERYTHING from henceforth!  We all have to do better, not just in America but around the globe.

At the same time, we have to prevent other countries from interfering our countries elections. We have to prevent fake news from gaining ground (yes, the real fake news where there is no basis in reality and notalternate facts’ as Kellyanne Conway stated it), while at the same time barring harmful and dangerous conspiracy individuals/groups.

 

All we can do is – TRY.

Be better than others and lift them up in turn. Stop stepping on the backs of others just so you can put your face in the spotlight. Just do the right thing. Most of all, it takes courage – courage to stand up and be counted and help make everyone accountable. Take U, she is a child and look at what she has accomplished and it was not out of wanting to be in the spotlight, it was due to making people aware that the world has to change regarding climate change.

But, individuals like the one in the White House, he has no courage whatsoever. He does not stand up for inequality. He does not stand up with empathy for those going through disastrous changes in their lives. He for sure does not have the courage to stand up and face America’s lack of true justice.

The American president does even have the backbone and courage to stand up and fight, internationally and collaboratively on CoViD-19 instead of finger-pointing. What individual in their right mind cuts out the World Health Organization and throttles the CDC…?

And not least, where is the courage to stand up against Police injustice in America, specifically against Brown, Yellow and Black people of this country…

But he does have an affinity, allegedly, for reneging on promises, greed and alleged corruption (*Ask the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York back back in 1979-1980 about Trump’s promise to give them the Bonwit Teller’s sculpture.)

We have to ensure respect, diversity, non-discrimination and equality are the bedrock of this country – maybe then we will actually be a United States.

 

*Bonwit Teller and the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Bonwit Teller closed its flagship store in 1979 and sold the property for $15 million to a Long Island real estate developer. Despite his plans to demolish the old Bonwit Teller building, the buyer promised to preserve the Deco grillwork and bas reliefs at the request of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The buyer was none other than Donald Trump. In 1980, Trump demolished Warren & Westmore’s elegant Art Deco emporium to make way for his $100 million Trump Tower. In what became a sadly typical turn of events, Trump cut corners everywhere he could and bullied those who stood in his way. To pour the foundations, Trump enlisted S&A Concrete, a known mob front for Paul Castellano and “Fat Tony” Salerno. He paid 200 illegal Polish immigrants as little as $4 an hour to work 12-hour days, 7 days a week. The so-called “Polish Brigade” worked without benefits, hard hats, and sometimes even homes – during the 1980 transit strike, many were forced to sleep at the construction site. Then there were the lawsuits. He sued the city for a tax abatement on the property. He sued one contractor for “total incompetence” and threatened to sue a labor lawyer for $100 million.

The reasoning:

John Baron, a spokesman for the Trump Organization—who, the New York Daily News discovered, turned out to be Donald Trump himself in disguisetold the Times that “the merit of these stones was not great enough to justify the effort to save them.” He said it would have cost $32,000 to remove the sculptures and cited appraisals by three independent appraisers that found them to be “without artistic merit” and worth less than $9,000. Their removal, he said, would also have delayed demolition work by at least a week and a half. (Trump, as himself, later estimated the cost of preserving the panels at $500,000.)

 

Successful Leadership! Part II

Successful Leadership

What it does not mean

What it ‘should’ mean

Role Model

Strategy 

Diligence, Conviction & Drive

Failure

Knowledge

Delegation

Seeing

Cognitive Diversity

Thinking

Examples of Successful Leaders

Communication

Understanding/Empathy

Respect

Listening & Feedback

Conclusion

 

SPOILER ALERT: This paper does not, in any fashion portend to include all there is in being a successful leader. Additionally, “successful leadership” and “successful leaders” are synonymous terms.

 

Successful Leadership

What it does not mean

It does not mean being dogmatic, on anything, with anyone! Sure, one has a right to think and believe what they desire but is that how you would choose to lead, successfully?

To me, this is a big topic and I wanted to include some definitions on being dogmatic as well as discuss it. We have far too many people who are of this bent, who are unwilling to actually ask questions or look something up (from multiple sources) to see if what they know is valid or not. And if it is not valid, then be able to learn from what they have discovered. They would rather try to bull their own, ill-conceived and incorrect conclusions on everyone around them…

From various dictionaries, the meaning of dogmatic:

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

Characterized by an authoritative, arrogant assertion of unproved or unprovable principles…

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary

Asserting opinions in a dictatorial manner; opinionated

Collins English Dictionary

1a (of a statement, opinion, etc.) forcibly asserted as if authoritative and unchallengeable

1b (of a person) prone to making such statements

2 (Philosophy) of, relating to, or constituting dogma: dogmatic writings.

3 based on assumption rather than empirical observation

So, do you really want to be seen as that kind of leader…?

Being a successful leader also does not mean being a brow-beater or dictatorial in your everyday interactions with subordinates. And it certainly does not mean that you are a softie, caving in, meekly at every turn for every employee/follower’s demands.

Being a successful leader also does not mean that one is full of pretense and bluster or beats around the bush – or, if you will, blowing smoke up someone’s pant legs

What it ‘should’ mean

Being a successful leader ‘should’ mean that you are someone that others are intentionally willing to follow.

It should mean that you have the character and integrity to say ‘no’ as much as you do in saying ‘yes.’ It means, because of your integrity that you are known for your tactful (and maybe at times blunt) honesty with those around you. You want everything to be on an open and level playing field in your interactions with others, without giving away any secrets of course…

It should mean that you have courage, the courage to stand up for the weakest amongst your team as well as for your own convictions.

It should mean that you are willing be the leader, even with knowing the burden that will be placed upon your shoulders in assuming that leadership. It might even mean your gaining gray hairs and wrinkles from assuming that position…

Role Model

Congratulations, you are the role model for all those around you, are you up for it?

One thing is for sure; you definitely are not going to be going around stating “I am your role model, so follow me.” What you ‘will’ be doing is, well, just your job but doing it to the best of your ability, all day and “everyday!”

Being a role model is not something one turns on and off, it is simply something you do that others will want to emulate and take after you. There is no higher compliment than someone watching you, listening to you and then doing the same thing – to the best of their own ability.

A bonus – someone asking you to be their mentor would be quite the compliment…

The thing is, once people see you as a role model, you cannot let people down by going off (verbally or physically) on some weird tangent/shortcut against all reasonable expectations and doing something that makes no sense or is contrary to what you stand for.

You should want to be one who is setting the example of being good, if not the best; in everything you do rather than being someone who is of the ilk of mouthing the phrase “do as I say, not as I do.”

Successful leaders do the right thing (morally), as much as they can, whenever they can. For example, you do not engage in corporate espionage.

Strategy 

Successful leaders are full of commitment to or for a cause or project; they want to see that cause or project through to fruition, a successful culmination that makes everyone happy and feel good about the ensuing results. They have a strategy about success and some of that strategy has to do with drive, conviction, diligence, openness and cognitive diversity. No successful leader should be without these…

There are many more aspects to strategic success but are not all listed here. However, I have written about other aspects in the predecessor paper to this one.

Diligence, Conviction & Drive

A successful leader has a bullet proof and solid reputation of getting things done (and done very well) and doing so through their constant diligence and drive. This leader uses this diligence and drive in order to complete whatever strategic goal they have in front of them.

It is a sterling reputation if that leader’s conviction is well known to others for reaching a successful goal, not just for the task at hand but for their team, for their customers and for the company.

Successful leaders keep driving even in the face of adversity, i.e. – resource shortages, long, long days and/or tough conditions (no a.c. or heat or pressure cooker situations). Tough leaders pick up the slack whenever and wherever they can – they are not afraid to get their hands dirty.

Failure

A successful leader also learns from mistakes, learning as much as possible from what did not go right and then incorporating those corrections for the next iteration of effort. All without letting the failures break their spirit and drive.

This leader, man or woman, seeks to take what others view as abject failure and implements it into a strategy for continuing to be successful.

A successful leader adapts and learns – period.

Knowledge

A successful leader learns all the time, as much as possible looking for any new applicable and theoretical knowledge they can in order to become better. Anyone looking to be successful embraces this concept, learning to be better – always striving to be better informed and aware, learning from everyone they can, no matter who the other is. That other person can be a peer, subordinate or a stranger – it should not matter if the knowledge being acquired is true and worthwhile.

Delegation

A successful leader knows that they cannot do everything in their division or team nor can they afford to micromanage. Being successful means that that leader knows to delegate and trust their teams to get the mission, task or issue resolved.

Micromanagement is not a way to success – what it does do is cause anger, resentment and high levels of attrition.

Seeing

As part of any strategy, successful leaders use their eyes (and ears and brain and mind) to really see, not just look at, what is happening in front of them. They use theirs eyes to see what is now and what could be, if, if that leader engages their own resources and those of others to realize a successful goal.

Many people only look at things, objects, people and ideas at the surface level, while successful leaders make the extra effort to see what is below the surface, at the deeper layers to pull the true content and essence of whatever they are seeing for an advantageous goal or result.

Cognitive Diversity

A successful leader is one who has a broad background – culturally, educationally and work experience – to draw from in going forward. Having that broad background means the successful leader can be flexible and shift gears accordingly – all without too much pain or grief.

Then too, having a background that is strong due to their cognitive diversity means the successful leader is able to adapt – willingly and adroitly – to the vagaries of daily work life (or just life itself) for whatever situation is thrown their way, overcoming any obstacles that spring up, taking it (whatever occurs) in stride.

Cognitive diversity is not just for the leader but it also applies quite well to the peers and subordinates around that leader. The more cognitive diversity or experiences a person (or group) has, from across a very wide spectrum of life and work, it will mean that more

  • Brain storming can be done
  • Innovative solutions can be brought to bear to solve problems or snags in the workplace
  • Forward thinking can take place in the group rather than the standard, staid, traditional isolated/insulated thinking that happens in many workplaces.

Thinking

Being a successful leader means that you absolutely must learn to think and think creatively at times, sometimes with ingenuity and innovation, vertically and even laterally (thinking outside the box). You must make time to think deeply and thoughtfully – you must find a quiet spot or a quiet time and do this.

You cannot be successful if you do not put enough brain power into being successful and as to how much, well, if only we knew that answer… But it is up to you to determine that answer, you have to commit to doing deep thinking as often as possible, to think through consequences, extrapolating into the future. Using data analysis (and/or vision analysis) software tools will help with your deep thinking success.

Examples of Successful Leaders

There are plenty of examples of excellent leaders using various modes of leadership and/or strategy to achieve their goals. Look at Eisenhower, Kennedy, Benjamin Banneker, Lincoln, Israel’s PM Golda Meir and even the first president, Washington – they all used their leadership in being successful. A couple of the strategies they employed were those of listening and collaboration, while at the same time not simply caving in to someone else being dogmatic on some issue.

Communication

Communication, in all of its various forms, is what we all need to work on and to improve to be become better at our everyday engagements with others. It means you have to:

  • Listen better,
  • Understand – or at least make huge strides in trying to understand better,
  • Giving and receiving feedback to improve,
  • Seeing what is in front of you and
  • Be respectful, this point alone will pay dividends

Understanding/Empathy

Whoever works for and/or with you, you as a great leader will need to know that the old saying of “leave your home problems at home,” is not a valid saying. It is the rare individual who can compartmentalize that well to leave ‘all’ of their problems at home and only focus on work. It just is not that easy. An individuals’ problem(s) may be severely significant and will interrupt their daily productivity.

And rest assured, just because a leader exhibits empathy and understanding, it does not necessarily construe any negative meaning that the leader is weak or has no backbone.

You have got to be able to understand that from person to person, they all have varying needs and you will need to be able – and want – to work with them on an individual basis. It might mean giving them an early release for the day or half a day off to go work on their home problems. These individuals that you help, the smart ones, will be very appreciative of what you do for them and will be more productive down the road to show their gratitude.

Now, those individuals who are “not smart,” well they may attempt to abuse this time off from work. For these folks, they get one additional chance (in my eyes) before they are booted out of the company, before they waste too much of anyone else’s time at the company.

Respect

Being respectful of others, not just kowtowing to what they want you to respect, but just in making the attempt to be respectful moves people. They will notice, sometimes visibly notice it, while at other times, it is noticed subconsciously.

Being respectful to others means that you pay attention to the differences that may be present between you and the other person and try to accommodate the other. Sometimes you may not be able to understand the differences but you should try.

You need to be respectful of the other’s gender, age, race, culture background, their educational background, of whether they are a parent (especially a single parent) – to show you understand (without being in their shoes) what they are going through as they go through a rough workday.

Successful leaders respect all around them. It does not matter the other person’s rank or position, the other person could be a U.S. cabinet secretary or they could be a mailroom clerk; they could be someone older or younger; they could be a man or a woman. The point is, it should not matter who the other person is, as long as you give respect to the other person, respect due their position and respect towards them as another person.

Now, that does not mean that the successful leader kowtows to everyone. What I mean by that specific statement is that not everyone deserves respect simply because of their authoritative or senior position. That other person may be a heinous individual who gives short shrift to everyone else and holds their authoritative position through some Machiavellian machinations, which possibly means that the position was not gained honestly and fairly.

Respecting a person for whom they are “and” for the position they hold is a rare privilege and should only be afforded to those who deserve it. You do not just roll over for everyone.

Listening & Feedback

You have to learn the highly coveted skill of listening to those around you – period. What someone is talking about or discussing, it may very well be of little consequence to you and the company. But to that individual talking, it might mean a great deal and knowing that someone is ‘actively listening’ to them could mean the breakthrough to their personal logjam, allowing them to become highly productive workers.

Listening to others may also generate great ideas and solutions worthy of following up on, to break through some sticking point on the production line or in creating a Big Data algorithm that is more efficient in culling massive mounds of disparate data and generating lucrative monetized results.

Listening more than anything, means looking the talker in the eye and paying attention, absorbing what they say. It does not mean, moving your head left to right, looking for something else to grab your attention. If I am not mistaken, it would be very annoying to you when someone else does it to you, correct….?

Feedback, feedback, feedback – VERY critical, for everyone…

It should not matter who is involved or where or for what reason; good, solid feedback and constructive criticism is of paramount importance for everyone.

You want to be better at your job, right?

You want your staff to be better at their jobs too, correct?

Then feedback is needed. No one is exempt from not receiving feedback. It should never matter, as long as it is done respectfully and in the vein of helping to improve the other (or yourself), of who is giving/receiving the feedback.

It should not matter if the other person is older or younger, straight or gay, male or female, senior or subordinate, colleague or stranger, etc., etc., etc. As long as the feedback conversation is done openly, honestly, above-board, with no hint of malice and, again, with respect – then no one should have any problem with getting useful and beneficial critical feedback.

Giving or receiving this kind of feedback may hurt a bit at times but it has to be done to raise one’s abilities to a higher plateau or risk being stuck on the same plateau for months (or years), going nowhere.

Conclusion

There are quite a few things that make a successful leader but as I indicated previously, this paper only scratches the surface with a few of the long list of notable aspects.

A successful leader is also not afraid to say “I do not know.” This is a valid response because no one knows everything on every topic – no one is a subject matter expert on everything today, simply because there are too many topics with too much information for anyone to be that knowledgeable. Now, if there is someone like that, my hat is off to him or her.

Just because you do not know something is not necessarily a bad thing. But, if you do not know an answer to a question or issue, your very next statement should be “I will find out and immediately get back to you.” So do not fret or run yourself into the ground out of fear due to not knowing something. Do not be afraid to say you do not know – just go find the needed answers, the best possible answers.

A successful leader:

  • Looks out for their subordinates – you are willing take the hit and the blame for failures and mishaps. On the other hand, you generously parse out shares of credit for jobs well done,
  • Is willing to mentor and share knowledge and to help out when the need arises,
  • Is tough when it is necessary, even if it hurts one or many of those around; it is something that has to be. But, just because that successful leader is tough, it should not mean that leader is not level-headed. The successful leader should be fair-minded in all of his/her dealings with everyone around them and ‘not’ playing favorites because of looks, or age, or race, or political leanings, or what college someone went to. Being fair-minded means what it is implied, being fair-minded,
  • Thinks, continually, about the common good and goals for all, sometimes even at their own expense…

To those unaware, for which this will be a kicker, lastly and most of all – successful leaders and leadership does not require that one have any specific title to lead successfully. Anyone can be a successful leader through their actions, their words and with their heart – as long as whatever they do is true.

A successful leader will be apparent to those looking and observing, if that observer can take their own ego out of the equation…

Leadership!

Originally posted Aug 8, 2013 at & copied from: http://patrick642.wordpress.com/
Change. Improve. Innovate. Be better.
~ Pressing issues, from cyber security, to strategy, to innovation, to improvements (self, others, organizations)

Leading is about listening and being in charge, smartly. It is about communication, insight, respect, integrity and ethics.

Leading is also about courage and by this I mean a leader must be willing to learn from others around him/her (I’ll just be using ‘his/he’ after this point). It is about being the ‘buck actually does stop here’ when things go wrong. Then too, it is about sharing the credit when things go right! Leading is about setting the right example! If you do a good job, those around you may like it and will attempt to emulate the examples you are setting. Trust me on this count, it does work – just do a good job. Don’t tell people to do what you do, just do a good job and others will likely follow your example(s).

Yes, you are the leader but, if you as a leader cannot learn from those around you, believing that you know all the answers – you have already failed. No one knows all the answers and you should not be afraid to listen and learn from those around you. This is your team. They are your backstops, just as you are theirs. You must also not blow smoke, beat around the bush, mislead or lie about things going on that affect your team, your customers. I am not saying your team is always right, of course not but, they may have an aspect that you could use. They, or you, may have an insight that could be useful for that project, that task or some effort down the road.

Type A individuals – we don’t always need or want an individual who will drive themselves into the ground, or worse, drive those around them into the ground needlessly (or worse still – intentionally). Many of us have seen and worked for this type of person. We have far too many type As ruining the lives of others or causing those team members to leave that company for what is hopefully a better workplace elsewhere. These type As are individuals who think they know all the answers while no one else does. Or that no one else really matters. To these type A folks, the end goal is everything – no matter what transpires in getting to the goal. As a result, the people below that leader may end up providing answers the leader wants to hear and not the answers that should have been provided. Just to keep the leader happy.

Why can’t we have more type A leaders who actively use moderation? We need leaders who are willing to critically listen to feedback and possible answers and use that information, not just toss it out when that team member leaves the room. We need leaders that can recognize when they are stressing out their team and others around them. We need leaders that can recognize when to slow activities down and when there is the need to move things along a bit faster.

Leaders also know right from wrong – or they should, even though we continue to see so many leaders in the news around the world with their hands in the cookie jar or doing something so egregiously wrong. We probably need to have more ethics classes, not just in college but in high school, junior high and even grade school. It should be a mandatory class/course – and repeated a couple of times along the educational track, using real world examples. And yes, I need to say it, we need to expand ethics classes/courses in the workplace – private companies, city, state and federal organizations too, that is those not currently doing so. For the time being, as we all observe – everyday, we still have ethics issues around the country… In all levels of life!

Communication. All good leaders have got to learn or know how to communicate, whether it is speaking or writing – a good leader has “got” to know how to communicate to the team; subordinate, equals and that person’s own leadership. Good communication means that that leader conveys valuable, timely and effective information to all who needs it by ensuring that: a) the communication has “got” to include enough nuances to ensure the message is coming across as intended. b) that leader knows his audience and is aware of how he crafts his message(s) to ensure it is received as intended (see below). c) that leader needs to determine how best to craft and send his message because some people in the audience prefer written information, while others prefer getting that same info verbally – or even visually.

Sometimes, saying more is too much. Sometimes, saying too little is bad. The point is, one has to be aware when one is talking too much as well as being aware when the message is not coming across to the various levels of the audience. By that last statement, I mean that, as much as is possible, one has to know who they are addressing; 1) educational levels of the audience, 2) cultural backgrounds, 3) age levels, 4) economic levels, 5) gender 6) etc

Sometimes, delivering bad news info requires that a leader will also need to know how to do that eloquently, elegantly, respectfully and with dignity…

Then we come to respect. Respect is a two way street but it has to be earned. I personally am happy with everyone using first names, regardless of titles, as long as everyone respects the position they are in and that others hold. Respect should be earned and not used without any forethought. You may have heard me talk about integrity and ethics before but I cannot emphasize these enough. These two are corner stones of what makes an individual and leaders specifically must have these two aspects. To me, they are not only corner stones but are bedrock (basically the entire foundation of a person).

I realize these are simply my own observations and desires but they are ideas and ideals I prefer. As a result, I continually try to get those around me to try to follow these principles: a) Show respect to each other, and yourself, as much and as often as possible – do not take others for granted, b) Listen, constantly and consciously, not as an afterthought, c) Show courage, especially when you have failed in some task or endeavor – you only learn from your mistakes, you ‘must’ learn from your mistakes to grow d) Provide insight, useful insight, whenever possible to ongoing tasks – use some of that cognitive diversity that each of us has (we all have different learning’s, different backgrounds and different experiences) that can prove beneficial and most of all e) Leaders encourage others to speak up, especially the shy team members, the unconfident team members so their voices too can be heard.