Ego – The Trump Effect

Ego – The Trump Effect

September 22nd, 2015 // 10:58 am @

donald_trump19Donald Trump personifies the egotistical CEO, and is using this persona to some effect in his run for president; it is interesting to examine how egotistical CEO’s work, and their effect on the business’s they lead.

Egotistical CEO’s are easy to identify, they are constantly telling the world how wonderful they are, and how the company would collapse if they were not making every decision. This constant need to shout their indispensability is probably driven mostly by a need to reassure themselves. For the strange reality is highly egotistical leaders are hiding a fundamental insecurity. When Mr Trump talks of his brilliance as a businessman he is not lying, or certainly not in his own mind, he has a deep physiological need to believe himself brilliant.

“The Donald” as I believe Mr Trump is known makes much of his business success, but when one examines the facts this success is a fallacy. Mr Trump is rich because of a man called Fred. Fred was Mr Trumps father and when he handed over his business in 1974 it was worth around $200m, extrapolate that to today’s date and it is $2.2billion not far off what Mr Trump is worth. The reality is he has not increased his inheritance significantly in real terms and in the early 1990’s came close to bankrupting it.

The egotistical leader has the advantage that many people want to believe in them. There is something in the majority of people that wants to believe that these people have the ability to lead the company we work in. In this big scary world we too often buy into the egotistical leaders rhetoric, because we want someone to take responsibility for the big decisions.

As CEO’s such leaders tend to be dramatic, sometimes in the short term successful but usually ultimately spectacular failures. They are pulled towards the dramatic, such as risky acquisitions, or entry into new unrelated markets, as they feed the ego that drives them more than building business’s organically. Mr Trump’s failures include, Trump Airlines, Trump Vodka, Trump Casino’s, Trump “The Game”, Trump “The Magazine”, Trump Travel, Trump University and the Trump Mortgage.

As managers internally they tend to pull all decisions to themselves, as their ego needs to believe that only they can make decisions. Therefore they tend to be very busy while those below them have less to do and a fear of making any decisions. This makes for a very inefficient managerial team, with the CEO trying to make every decision, and the rest of the team underused.

To exacerbate the problem of weak management, the really good managers will leave, and the mangers that stay and succeed are not those with managerial ability, but with the ability to feed the CEO’s ego.

CEO’s with too much ego are dangerous, and no fun to work for. The great CEO’s are the ones with a company full of highly successful people, all working to the corporate goal.

Solely recruiting the best does not do this; it is done by empowering people, selling them the vision, and having the humility to know the best ideas can come from anywhere in the business, and most decisions are best made not by the CEO.

The “Donald’s” of this world are entertaining, but ultimately poor leaders, what is concerning is how alluring they seem to be to many people.

The “Donald” as President, highly unlikely, but who would have foreseen how far he has got. The appeal of such egotistical outsiders is particularly strong when linked to the general exasperation felt for professional politicians.





Category : Blog &Leadership &Management Technique

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