These Are The Leadership Traits That Trump Needs To Be Successful

A great leader possesses these seven core competencies. Does the president’s background in business afford him these skills?

These Are The Leadership Traits That Trump Needs To Be Successful
[Photo: DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro/Released]

Plenty of people voted for Donald Trump based on the fact that he was a businessman and not a career politician. But are corporate skills transferable to our nation’s highest office?


Carol Jenkins, PhD, chief analytics officer for OutMatch, a Dallas-based HR tech company, says her company’s data can provide an answer. She says, “While there is not a cookie-cutter profile for all leaders,” OutMatch has assessed more than 40,000 executives using predictive leadership assessments and simulations and boiled it down to seven core competencies that lead to success.

Jenkins says each of these allow leaders to set the tone for the culture of the business, define and communicate their vision, drive results in a way that inspires others, and do so with the partnership of the rest of the organization.

Greg Moran, president and CEO of OutMatch, outlines them this way:


When someone first transitions into leadership, they oversee team members and roll out new initiatives, but at the highest level of leadership, they’re responsible for defining the overall vision and strategy for the company (or in this case, the country).
Key personality traits. reflective thinking, assertiveness, self-reliance

In-Depth Problem Solving And Analysis

Because decisions at this level impact the fate of the company (or the entire country), the ability to carefully evaluate information against possible courses of action is essential. This competency helps leaders find good solutions to difficult problems.
Key personality traits. reflective thinking, fact-based thinking, realistic thinking

Championing Change

Transforming ideas into action begins with support and buy-in, either from stakeholders within a company or from the administration and the American people. Without it, important change initiatives will stagnate, and people will lose faith in the leader’s ability to execute.
Key personality traits. assertiveness, work pace, frustration tolerance


Driving for Results

Driving for results is all about making things happen. After the vision has been defined, it must be set in motion. This competency drives leaders to challenge the status quo and strive for new levels of economic performance, resource efficiency, and more.
Key personality traits. assertiveness, self-reliance, realistic thinking

Influencing and Persuading

Convincing others to adopt a course of action requires sharp communication skills and a persuasive argument, but this competency targets a leader’s ability to connect with others and generate enthusiasm for new ideas.
Key personality traits. assertiveness, sociability, work pace

Managing Others

Leaders at all levels must effectively direct the activities of others, encourage performance, and hold people accountable. This competency continues to be important as leaders transition from managing individuals to managing other leaders and department heads.
Key personality traits. assertiveness, work pace, optimism

Organizational Savvy

Leaders must have a keen understanding of organizational (or national/international) politics, and work within these dynamics to build and maintain alliances. Without these alliances, leaders will struggle to get resources and accomplish objectives.
Key personality traits. insight, sociability, criticism tolerance

Moran points out that laying out a vision for the future is “the No. 1 thing an executive leader must do,” especially when they are new to the position. During the first week of his administration, Moran says President Trump has done this with executive orders that outline the high-level goals of his administration.

Still, he says, as with any other executive leader, what he does next will be crucial to establish a successful trajectory. “Regardless of whether someone agrees with his positions,” Moran maintains, “the president must champion change by persuading others that his vision is the correct one; work to address the challenges that arise from change; and drive to generate results through his policies and actions.”


About the author

Lydia Dishman is a reporter writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.