I have sifted through scores of quotes from Donald Trump’s campaign. They’re laced with emotionally charged words: ugly, fat, disgusting, crooked and nasty, to name a few. They’re also rife with profanity and overly egotistical.
This is not language becoming of a leader, nor is it the right approach for gaining loyal followers or uniting a divided nation.
So with all due respect, here are some tips I’d share with Mr. Trump and anyone else in a leadership role.
- Soften the edges. Name-calling tactics cause listeners to shut down. If you want people to engage, speak considerately. You don’t have to walk on eggshells. Be direct. Just do it without character bashing.
- Cut the profanity. In one-on-one settings a few colorful words strengthen your point. But in a group setting — especially the world stage — you must hold yourself to a higher standard. Crass language limits your appeal and tarnishes your brand.
- Reel in your ego. Nobody will willingly follow a leader they fear or distrust. And nobody likes or respects a showboater. Rather than bragging about yourself, let your accomplishments speak for themselves. This increases your credibility without drawing scorn.
- Practice listening. In a democracy, everyone has a voice and a right to their opinions. So be willing to hear what’s being said. You can’t learn anything while you’re talking.
As a citizen and communicator, I challenge Mr. Trump to become a leader all people can respect. And that starts with his ability to set the right tone through words and actions. I hope he proves that he is up to the challenge.