Unravelling the Trump Spectacle
Donald Trump is a major talking point these days. His behaviour is puzzling to some, condemned by others and embraced by his enthusiastic followers.
I am an avid student of human behaviour and the amazing possibilities that our minds open for us.
I shed clothing and got into an ice hole. I did a fire walk on hot coals barefoot.
However, my mental conditioning goes out the window in the face of a strange dog. I am fully submissive in their presence. I have been intimidated out of my wits by dogs lying still in front of their gate.
The fact that I was willing to give up my right to walk on a public thoroughfare because of my perception of a threat gives us an important starting point in unravelling the Trump spectacle.
I share a 4-Step Plan.
An important starting point is to recognize that at its core Dominance feeds on Intimidation and Submission. What is not widely recognized is that domination can be self-inflicted!
That is an important take-away from my experience. I took it upon myself to be dominated by dogs who had no interest in harming me as I later realized when I finally developed the courage to walk past them.
Weeding out self-inflicted domination is the first step towards the capacity to deal effectively with dominant personalities.
The dog analogy is instructive.
Dominance is actually a style of behaviour and with it comes certain attitudes, mannerisms and actions.
One such mannerism is the equivalent of aggressive barking. That barking is not necessarily supported by a commitment or intention to bite. However, its intensity puts doubt in the mind of others and the barker protects its position. The barking demeanour creates a feeling of intimidation in others.
Individuals who like Donald Trump use Dominance as their preferred style of interacting with others may come across as aggressive, pushy and even threatening. It is now a part of their persona. “Why are you shouting?” is received with genuine surprise. “Shouting, me?”
They are in denial about their aggression. Recognizing that the barking may only be a manifestation of a trigger action makes it easier to avoid being intimidated by it.
An important second step in dealing with dominant personalities is to make the distinction between bark, bite and intention to bite. We identified weeding out self-induced domination as the first step.
The second skill to develop is the capacity to identify when barking is not linked to biting or the intention to bite.
Yes…some barks are clear signals that biting is about to take place. Others are just a natural tendency to bark that appears intimidating but has no real intention to bite behind it.
The secret here is the need to look beyond tone and body language which complicate communication with dominant personalities. Work to distil the essence of what is taking place without the noise of demeanour.
This is a challenging but fundamental mechanism for dealing effectively with dominant personalities.
The voice may be raised and there is animation but what are we dealing with at the core here?
Is there blustering taking place to distract attention from the real issues at play?
Keeping your focus on the core issue helps you to avoid being distracted by the noise of tone and body language.
You need to take that foundation principle into dealing with dominant personalities like Trump.
I am going to share a two-part strategy that has an impeccable track record of success.
However, before that it is important to deepen our understanding of Dominance as a behavioural style.
Mind sets linked to Dominance include a strong desire to WIN. Not just win but to make a notable contribution to winning.
There is also a need to have some influence over results. Sitting in the back seat away from the steering wheel is distinctly uncomfortable. In that situation, back-seat driving is a natural outlet.
That is the second-guessing and push back that leaders get from dominant team members. This is the equivalent of the challenges the GOP are having with the Trump challenge to their values and principles.
Part One: Strategic Approach
Satisfying their need for active and meaningful engagement points the way to the third step in leading dominant personalities more effectively.
Positive results will come from identifying ways to align their needs to core strategy and vision through negotiation.
Share where we are going and the route we are taking and why we have chosen that route. Actively take on board their feedback and explain what can be incorporated and what cannot be accommodated now and why.
The Carson endorsement must surely have come with some concession from Trump.
Part Two: Strategic Approach
A companion strategy is to make a concerted effort to show respect and being attentive to their contribution. This recognition can produce surprisingly positive results.
Whatever level the individual may be at, give them clarity about their contribution to bringing the vision to fruition and to successful completion of the mission.
The third step then in the quest to deal more effectively with dominant personalities is to negotiate ways to link their role to the vision, integrate them meaningfully and respect their contribution.
In the final analysis, however, further action may be required. This is especially true with individuals who want to advance their personal agenda and test their muscles.
The fact is that dominant personalities want to drive. They want to have their hands on the steering wheel. The closer you can get to allowing even an occasional side-steer, the more comfortable and cooperative they will be.
Devise strategies to move them from the THEY side of the WE | THEY divide to being associated with or being a part of the WE.
We recall our school days. The smart teachers placed the noisy trouble makers in charge of maintaining discipline. That role shift produced a transformation of the classroom dynamics.
The same principles may be applied when dealing with out of step personalities. Get the dominant individual member to see themselves in a different role and context. Do that effectively and you will experience less push back and greater levels of cooperation.
Finally, a friendly suggestion.
Fighting fire with fire and head butting really produces no winners in the long run. Non-strategic confrontation is more likely to escalate resistance and may even provoke open hostility.
Follow the 4 steps outlined above for best results in dealing with dominant personalities.
These principles are incorporated in our 3-D Leader Certification: Leading Difficult, Dominant, Diverse Personalities
The program is accredited by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and offers 16 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM certifications.
This is the first accreditation designed to address the vexed issue of leading difficult people.
- It involves over 16 facilitator-led, interactive hours of coaching.
- 12 months of access to online courseware
- 12 months e-mail Consultation
- 4 follow-up coaching Webinars – one per quarter
- Online exclusive Facebook Community – learn, mingle, connect.