Management lessons from Donald Trump

Management lessons from Donald Trump

This is a big week in politics, because the US midterm elections are taking place tomorrow.  It’s a chance for the American public to make their feelings known about the people who represent them in Congress, and – by implication – their president, Donald Trump.  This opportunity only comes along every 2 years, so it’s a big deal for the country – and for the world.

But if you’re reading this, you are unlikely to be the US President.  (And if you are – get back to work!)  No.  You are more likely to be directly or indirectly managing a team of IT specialists in the UK.

But if you are managing such a team, you actually have some of the same issues as Trump does.  How do you know if your people enjoy working for you, or not?  Do they share your values?  What is your approval rating?

In other words, what is the equivalent of the US midterm elections, for you?

Staff reviews

Some companies have regular 360-degree reviews that go some way to address these questions.

Most, though, don’t.  For many managers, the first you know about employee dissatisfaction is the knock on the door and the sinking feeling you get when the plain envelope is placed carefully on your desk.

You might be glad to accept this resignation.  Or you might be gutted.  It’s not just the losing of a valuable member of staff, it’s the wasted opportunity, the hassle of the recruitment process, having to deal with recruiters, training, disruption to your other plans, the blow to morale.  And, of course, the financial cost.

Wouldn’t it be better to have a little advance warning?

It’s possible to have this.  The key to it all is open dialogue, regular reviews, and a proper recruitment process in the first place, to hire people whose values align with yours and who have the right potential.  And keeping your promises, of course.  Always keeping your promises.

It’s a complex brew, but it can be achieved.

Donald Trump has a fair idea of the range of opinions that his public holds about him; he can hardly avoid knowing!  But your employees don’t make their feelings quite as obvious.  Your supporters don’t hold rallies for you – they just get on with the job.  And your detractors don’t post insulting cartoons about you on Twitter – they just get on with the job, too.  Until they leave.

So look after your people, keep your promises, conduct regular reviews, ask for feedback, and you will give yourself the best chance of keeping control of the house.


We can help with staff retention, by recruiting the right people in the first place and by giving you access to objective tools that help you understand your employees’ personality, potential, and motivation.  Contact us if you would like to know more.


Image: copyright Billy Nomad vs Donald Trump