What Can Future Leaders Learn From Donald and Kim’s Playground?
9th August 2017
By Helen Bennett
Nothing and everything is the short answer.
Do you recall playing the game “It” as a child? Someone would be “It” and their job was to run after people and touch them until they then became “It”. The person who was “It” had all the power until it was transferred to the next person and they then used their power to find the next person. Half the joy for some people was the screaming and mayhem they could produce, so they would run around for some time before tagging the next person.
Donald Trump and Kim Jong- Un remind me of a couple of schoolkids in a rather large playground, enjoying the power that comes from being “It"
If it were not so alarming it would be amusing. Two grown men and leaders responsible for the well being and safety of millions of people, speaking and behaving as though this were all just some game.
“It’s his fault, he did it first.”
“I only did it ‘cause he did it.”
"My missile's bigger than your missile."
It really does defy sensible adult explanation.
I cannot think of worse examples or role models for young managers coming up through the ranks of either politics or business, hoping to be leaders of the future.
What do they see when they look at Trump? A man with the most pompous, superior body language I’ve ever seen – relentlessly desperate to be viewed as a great leader. He talks like a teenager who thinks they know it all, based on some random piece of information they heard somewhere, when in fact they never have the real facts and just make idiots of themselves. His over use of superlatives, the idiotic, laboriously slow repetition of the same simplistic phrase as though we didn’t get it the first time are enough to make one doubt one’s self. Did he just say something so profound that I just didn’t’ get it? No he just said something so stupid your brain refused to accept it at face value!
What he has not yet grasped is that he can’t behave and speak like he was used to doing in business – the subtleties and diplomacy required in the political arena so far outstrip his communication skills it’s comical he ever thought he could be in the same category as the political greats. He talks and behaves like a child who has found the dressing up box and is marching about with a soldier’s outfit on shouting “Kill him kill him!” not looking or caring who is listening or watching, just full of his own importance.
It is worrying in the extreme. How can half of the world’s biggest and most influential country have voted for this man?
Then there’s Kim Jong-Un. Where does one begin? He looks quite literally like an overgrown child. His grinning face at news of greater nuclear power can only be the response of a paranoid, megalomaniac psychopath. I feel for the people of North Korea – unable to see or hear the rest of the world’s actual response to him. If only they could witness how the west laugh at his over dramatic child- like words and actions, as well as at the comical woman on North Korean state TV – the one who gets hilariously over excited every time the great Kim Jong- Un so much as farts.
If only they could know that we regard Kim Jong Un as entertainment. Whether they are too terrified to do anything other than clap and smile fervently when in public, is no doubt part of the story, but there will be a raft of young men and women with no other voice to help them understand what a true great leader is, who simply see this style of leadership as …. well…. it. The way it’s always been and the way it will always be.
And here we are today observing from the edges, these two men in positions of great power, most of us aghast that we have come to this.
Give me Theresa May or Vince Cable any day - at least they' possess a rather British calm and measured demeanour that reassures rather than alarms - something that many of the world's greatest leaders also possessed. Even if they do come across a tad boring, I think we can all rest in our bed at night that Mrs May isn't going to be hitting the button any time soon.