The United States military spends a great amount of time building leadership qualities within its ranks. Donald Trump, as the elected president of the United States, is the commander-in-chief of all U.S. military forces. The basic tenet of leadership is to lead by example. As the commander-in-chief, Trump is expected to adhere to the qualities of a United States military leader.
As such, it is important to see how Donald Trump stacks up against the leaders developed by the United States military to lead its missions across the world. The United States Army has published FM 6-22, Leader Development manual used for training Army leaders. The June 2015 version of the manual states that “An Army leader, by virtue of assumed role or assigned responsibility, inspires and influence people to accomplish organizational goals.” [original emphasis] The manual adds, “Army leaders motivate people both inside and outside the chain of command to pursue actions, focus thinking, and shape decisions for the greater good of the organization.”
There are many business courses and self-taught books adopting the U.S. military leadership doctrine for business use. As such, and because Donald Trump is a businessman, it is fair to critique him on the leadership skills he has exhibited since he assumed office. This is more important as he is the leader of the most advanced military force in the world.
So how does Donald Trump rank according to Army’s military leadership expectations?
FM 6-22 includes an Army leadership requirements model based on two sections, leader Attributes and Competencies. Each of these has three sub-sections. For Attributes, they are Character, Presence and Intellect. For Competencies, the three are: Leads, Develops and Achieves. The leadership course spells out the Principals of Mission Command and their Army Leadership Requirements. These are the ten important skills expected of Army leaders:
1. Develops others – the Army expects its leaders to build effective teams and expand knowledge.
FAIL – Trump is consistently undermining his underlings, especially his spokespeople and the White House is consistently in inner-turmoil.
2. Builds trust – the Army expects its leaders to lead by personal example and to sustain a climate of trust. It also expects leaders to use the appropriate methods of influence to energize others.
FAIL – The Trump administration is under cloud of untrustworthiness with many examples of outright lies uttered by the administration.
3. Creates a Positive Environment – the Army expects its leaders to foster teamwork and to support learning.
FAIL – there is consistent fighting within the White House and with members of Congress, including Trump’s political party, the Republicans.
4. Communicates – the Army expects its leaders to create shareable understanding and employ engaging communications skills.
FAIL – Donald Trump, through Twitter and public comments, consistently contradicts his spokespeople and undermines the ability of his legal team to mount a legal defense.
5. Leads Others – the Army expects its leaders to balance subordinate needs with mission requirements, provide purpose, motivation and inspiration as well as to influence others to take the initiative. Additionally, the Army commander is expected to provide purpose without excessive and detailed direction.
FAIL – Donald Trump undermines his underlings publicly and consistently places blame on them for mission failures.
6. Gets Results – the Army measures success by results. Army leaders are expected to designate, clarify, deconflict roles and prioritize tasks. Army results are accomplished by making good decisions and executing plans to accomplish the mission the right way.
FAIL – The Donald Trump administration is rife with palace intrigue, an inability to deliver on promises and the decision-making process is publicly haphazard.
7. Demonstrates Army Values – the U.S. Army has an organizational ethic and expects all its members to adhere to it. The ethic is centered on duty. The Army defines duty as honorable servants of the nation, the competency of its professionals and leaders committed to the Army profession.
FAIL – Donald Trump has consistently displayed immaturity with women, displays a lack of ethical decision-making processes and has a penchant for questionable actions and activities that not only embarrass the nation but puts into question the Trump administration’s ethical standards.
8. Demonstrates self-discipline – the Army expects its commanders to maintain a professional bearing and conduct.
FAIL – one word, Twitter.
9. Demonstrates mental agility – the Army expects its commanders to anticipate uncertain or changing conditions.
FAIL – there are many examples of Trump’s inability to anticipate uncertain or changing conditions. Case in point is the administration’s inability to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act after numerous attempts.
10. Demonstrates interpersonal tact – the Army expects its leaders to use tact in their interaction with others.
FAIL – his various treatment of women.
As you can clearly see, Donald Trump has miserably failed on all aspects of an effective commander as expected by the United States Army. The Army would rid itself of any commander failing so badly. Instead, the United States commander-in-chief holds the codes to the country’s nuclear weapons.