Playing the Trump Card

I recently flipped on the news to find Donald Trump on an episode of CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley discussing the fact that he has risen to a top contender in the polls for the next republican presidential nominee.

Why is Donald Trump considering a presidential bid in the 2012 election? When asked, he replied, “I wish I didn’t have to do it. I would prefer not doing it. But I love this country…I will tell you, I am giving it serious, serious thought.”

I was immediately struck by the boldness of this statement – it was his obligation to save America from itself, and the US would simply be lost without his guidance. He would prefer not to be president, but his undying love for the red, white, and blue has driven him to seriously, seriously consider taking office.

Trump is well known for his bravado – he refers to himself as “The Donald” – but these statements take it to a whole new level.

After the interview ended, I did some more research and learned that Trump spoke at an April 16 Tea Party rally in Boca Raton, Florida. There, he elaborated on this boldness, suggesting that his superior business skills qualify him to run one of the most powerful countries in the world: “We need people that win. We don’t need people that lose all the time. I’ve beaten many people and companies, and I’ve won many wars. I…earned many, many billions of dollars. It’s both a scorecard and an acknowledgment of certain abilities.”

In an ABC interview, Trump quipped, “Part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich…That’s a huge advantage. I must tell you, that’s a huge advantage over the other candidates.”

When asked about how he measures up to potential opponent Mitt Romney, he replied, “I have a much bigger net worth… I’m a much bigger businessman. I mean my net worth is many, many, many times Mitt Romney’s.”

In these statements, Trump reveals an intensely competitive nature, a hunger for power and status, and a viewpoint that promotes financial success as a way to keep score. He also demonstrates a belief that emphatically repeating or restating your words is an effective influence tactic. Many, many, many times more effective than his opponents’ techniques.

Hogan enthusiasts and coaches are already mentally plotting Trump’s scores on his hypothetical HDS Challenge Report. I am willing to wager that Trump would score high on the derailment scales of Mischievous, Imaginative, Bold, and Colorful…in ascending order. This is what we at Hogan refer to as the “Charismatic Cluster” of scores commonly found in leadership profiles. The positive behaviors associated with these scales involve seeming daring, visionary, confident, and energetic – characteristics that make a person seem leader-like and influential. Taken to the extreme, these scales take on a negative quality, resulting in a tendency to be impulsive, unpredictable, arrogant, and dramatic – characteristics that are distinctly Trump-like.

To be fair, The Donald isn’t the only one who exhibits these characteristics. In fact, these descriptors may apply to many of the politicians and celebrities that stand out in history. The characteristics that make them impactful and memorable are often the same ones that make them destructive and infamous.