[I’ll admit, this is longer than a normal post. But, sometimes, you just have to say what’s on your mind.]
Dear President Trump,
As a teenager growing up in northern Jersey, I knew about you. Well, at least, I knew the public persona of Donald Trump, real estate mogul. It seemed like you were always in the New York news; sometimes for good reasons, more often for something scandalous. However, there was no doubt that you were a successful business person. As a younger adult, I even owned a copy of your book, “The Art of the Deal.”
As life went on though, I wasn’t nearly as impressed. Actually, I didn’t really care; about you, your business, or your social antics.
A few years ago, I thought the idea of “The Apprentice” was an interesting one. i watched the first season. Bill Rancic was impressive as the winner. I started watching the second season but quickly lost interest. It seemed to me that it was no longer about giving someone a shot at a meaningful career opportunity but, instead, about how “out there” you and some of the contestants (characters?) could be. Again, I didn’t really care.
Then, you decided to run for President of the United States.
Almost unbelievably, you won the Electoral College vote and actually became president a few months ago. This I care about very much.
I’ll be honest. There is almost nothing that you and I agree on. Women’s rights, education, immigration, world peace, the economy, race and cultural relations, gender issues, healthcare, your American First premise, the fact that you didn’t think America was already great, the people you surround yourself with, the insulting way you treat people who disagree with you, your divisive speeches, your demeaning comments, your lack of substance when explaining policy, your outright lies, and on and on and on. It still seems that your goal is, once again, to see how far “out there” you can go. But, in this role, there are serious consequences.
At Saturday’s 100 day rally, you made one particular comment that has been largely overlooked but really hit home with me. When speaking about Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, you said:
He works hard to study leadership. When you have to study leadership, you’ve got problems.
You see, Mr. President, I graduated from Otterbein University (Westerville, Ohio) in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in, you guessed it, Leadership Studies.
I don’t even know where to begin to impress upon you why the study of leadership is so important. As the person holding one of the most powerful leadership positions in the world, I urge you to reflect on the difference between business management and global leadership, before it is too late. I am sure, if you look, you will find people around you who can help you learn what that really means.
How would the study of leadership help you?
Here are just a few of the topics covered in my alma mater’s degree program, really just scratching the surface of lifelong learning for leaders:
- Interpersonal communication
- Transformational leadership
- Organizational and team dynamics
- Intercultural communication
- Organizational communication
- Industrial and organizational psychology
Would any of this knowledge have helped you in your first hundred days? Yes, they would have.
Today, there are countless colleges and university across the country who offer undergrad and post-graduate degree programs in leadership. There are even more speakers, authors and coaches dedicated to the field. Granted, some are better than others, but we can say that about most occupations, can’t we?
What difference do great leaders make?
- Leaders share an inspiring vision for the future.
- Leaders bring diverse groups of people together to work towards that vision.
- Leaders lift up and encourage others.
- Leaders challenge everyone to be the very best version of themselves.
- Leaders are solution-oriented.
- Leaders are motivated learners.
- Leaders are integrious.
Would any of these skills or qualities have helped you in your first hundred days? Yes, they would have.
Don’t be so quick to dismiss the study of leadership. It’s an important and meaningful field. I, for one, admire anyone who has committed themselves to self-improvement, personal development and professional growth in the area of leadership effectiveness.
I hope you’ll reconsider your opinion. Studying leadership does not mean you have a problem. It means you are trying to lead people toward a promising future in the most inspiring and effective way possible. It would be great if you were successful in doing so. Maybe you and Senator Schumer should form a study group. Wouldn’t that be something?
Sincerely, Eleanor Biddulph
PS: If you want to talk about leadership…