Business and political leaders establish their authority over their employees and subordinates through their attitudes, daily interactions, and reactions to various situations. Business leader and political leader Donald Trump has established a reputation as someone willing to confront issues, seize control of situations, and tell people what to do, but he has also established a reputation as a disloyal, disrespectful, and unprofessional boss who undermines his employees and subordinates by publicly degrading and humiliating them through his interactions with social media, the general public, and other authority figures. Although President Donald Trump has done plenty during his tenure in the White House to degrade, alienate, and demoralize government employees, he has managed to publicly undermine professionals within America’s national security industry and the Federal Reserve while traveling abroad, thereby degrading his subordinates to the outside world.
When Donald Trump met with Russian President Donald Trump at the Helsinki Summit, the US President chose to express his lack of faith and trust in America’s national security apparatus in order to ease tensions over the Russian Election Hacking Scandal. The move practically absolved Russia of responsibility for its ongoing efforts to manipulate foreign elections around the world. It also created a greater divide between the US national security apparatus and the President. Recognizing the national security overreach uncovered over the past few decades, e.g. the Edward Snowden Revelations, and the damage it has done to the reputation of the US intelligence community, there are plenty of reasons for all Americans to have ill-will toward America’s national security professionals. For true leaders, the trust deficit indicates a need for intervention and greater support from leadership, not public criticism in front of a world leader whose domineering, authoritarian ways threaten the US.
Furthermore, Donald Trump’s social media rants against the Federal Reserve over the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates demonstrates both a lack of emotional control on behalf of the President and an effort by political leadership to discourage government workers from doing their job correctly in order to promote a political agenda. Donald Trump is in the middle of a “trade war” and a rate hike will alter the impact of his tariffs, but the Fed’s job is not to make the President look good or bolster his policies. The Fed is supposed to keep the US economy from growing too quickly or too slowly. Although Trump’s predecessors have been guilty of publicly criticizing the impartial and independent Supreme Court for its decisions, Trump’s intensifying criticism of the independent Fed demonstrates his failure to either comprehend the weight of his words as the US President and/or his unwilling to separate the politics of government from the business of government. It is also another example of top leadership undermining subordinates trying to do their jobs correctly for doing their jobs correctly in order to bolster the image of the leadership.
Whether new or established, leaders who like to undermine others set themselves and their teams up for failure in many ways. By treating subordinates as inferiors and simply targeting subordinates with blame, for example, superiors create division that prevent team members from engaging in effective teamwork and problem solving. The self-righteous, self-serving boss, who gleefully uses the shortcomings of others to advance himself, instead of helping improve them, then dodges responsibility at all turns. is not a team member or leader. He is a team adversary. When someone’s idea of problem solving is continually casting blame on others, that person is too busy blaming others to find solutions to problems. Criticism is only useful when it helps solve problems. Blaming others is only helpful when an individual is the driving-force behind a problem and needs support. Even if removal from a situation becomes necessary, degrading an individual is, however, never necessary, especially when it come to leadership.
Donald Trump continually provides examples of how a leader undermines others and his team. Unfortunately, the political and business worlds are filled with examples of alleged leaders whose views of leadership and problem solving involve blaming others to advance their own careers and avoiding personal responsible when blame falls on them. It is animal nature to lash out against others when experiencing adverse situations, but doing so undermines relationships. When dealing with subordinates and/or coworkers who continually make mistakes, do not care, and do not try, it is easy to lash out. Most people do. It is easy to simply start making snide remarks, calling out others for their shortcomings, and even criticizing fellow team members to outsiders when there are issues. It is a habit easy to start and hard to break. It is, however, terribly unprofessional and counterproductive. It is often necessary to acknowledge, whether privately or publicly, and confront issues, including the shortcomings of others, but it is not acceptable to do so in a way that or situation where it degrades others. For leaders, using undermining words and actions, especially in public, is thoroughly counterproductive.
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