Dear Shannon: How can I promote leadership in the age of Trump?
Donald Trump's inauguration last month has me getting more concerned about leadership, the environment and human rights. I'm not in politics, so how can I use my work to help promote progressive leadership during this four-year term?
In the weeks following the presidential inauguration, many of us have been concerned about what a Trump presidency means for our families, our security, our basic rights as humans and our planet. Now, more than ever, we need to make positive change a priority for our businesses and as leaders, we need to put our good intentions into action. With Trump in the White House, we no longer can rely on government regulations to help propel our agendas forward. It is now our job, our mission, our responsibility to set a personal plan to act.
But your question is an important one — where to start? As a business leader, what can you do to help drive positive change?
Here are five tips on how you can become a successful leader with a progressive agenda in the age of Trump:
1. Move into a leadership position that will enable you to take action
How do you spend your day? The average American works about 34 hours a week, close to 1,800 hours a year. Imagine the difference you could make if you shifted your perspective to consider your hours in the office as hours of potential impact. If you are in a leadership position with an organization that is resistant to social change, consider making a move to a new position and start using your job to make a difference. Check out my blog for additional tips on how to move into a purpose-full career.
2. Be an 'emotionally intelligent' leader
In his LinkedIn post exploring this very theme, Jonathan Buffard defined emotional intelligence as "being able to recognize and control your own emotions, properly reading and influencing emotions in others, and being able to leverage this information correctly when defining your ideas and actions."
I think it goes without saying that the current President of the United States seems to lack this important leadership skill, but by focusing on it yourself you can help to create a more positive and productive workplace. According to the Harvard Business Reivew, "thousands of academic studies have demonstrated the predictive power of scientific EQ assessments vis-à-vis job performance, leadership potential, entrepreneurship and employability." Check out its recent article for some extra tips on "How to Boost Your and Others' Emotional Intelligence" at work.
3. More than advocacy — it’s about fast tangible change
Political advocacy is important when trying to promote a progressive agenda, but businesses also can help create social change and sometimes they can do so much faster with significantly more tangible results. According to BSR, many businesses have made it a priority to address issues such as human rights, workers rights, women’s rights and climate change.
Businesses have the motivation and resources to push for these issues, especially now that purpose brands are often trusted more than the profitable business behind them. If you hold a leadership position in your company, think about the ways your brand can become a part of the growing trend to use business to create positive change.
4. Map the CEOs and CSOs who care
Listen to what other leads are saying about the issues that matter most to you and learn from your peers. When CEOs and CSOs discuss their visions for the future, they will be working to drive their businesses towards those goals. But in order to learn from their efforts, you first have to engage, find something in common with them and collaborate or join forces to move your common agendas forward. You can start off by reading this recent GreenBiz article about executives' hopes for the future in 2017.
5. Be prepared to grow through change
IBS’s global study of over 1,500 CEOs recently revealed that most leaders are concerned with the rate of change in our world. Trump’s presidency is likely to bring many changes to trade, regulation, culture and business over the next four years. In order to grow and flourish as a progressive leader during this time, you need to be prepared to grow through change. Forbes recently released an article about this very theme, sharing four tips and habits to help you and your employees become more resilient in times of change.
If you are still feeling uncertain about how to become a successful leader in the age of Trump, please visit Walk of Life Leaders for more information about my executive coaching services or get in touch here.