Two weeks ago I published a post titled: “100 Days (Or, 26 Habits of Bad Managers).”
As you may recall, my inspiration for those “bad habits” was behavior or actions taken by President Trump and/or his administration during his first 100 or so days in office.
And perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve gotten some pushback. For instance, one of you wrote:
“I would love to see specific examples of the 26 bad habits you attribute to Trump. …I don’t see how a lot of these are accurate labels for [the President].”
So this week, I offer you just that for your consideration.
What follows are examples of specific actions (or tweets) by Trump or his administration, that I believe can be fairly interpreted as evidence of each one of these behaviors.
Now to be clear, I’m not saying that every single one of the 26 is necessarily a habit of Trump’s (although many appear to be). I would therefore hesitate to characterize them as “labels” that might be assigned to the President. Telling a single lie does not make someone a liar in my book. What I am saying, however, is that on at least one occasion during his time in office (or shortly beforehand), Trump has acted in a way consistent with each.
Perhaps my disclaimer from that post two weeks ago is worth repeating here:
- I’m not saying Trump is a bad manager necessarily; it’s possible that he doesn’t manage his businesses the same way he seems to be running the country
- I’m not saying that Trump does all of these things, or behaves this way all of the time
- I’m not even saying that it’s not okay to engage in some of these behaviors on occasion. (It is, however, probably a bad idea to make them habits.)
Bad Manager Habit #1: Lack of credibility.
For evidence of Trump’s lack of credibility, one need look no further than Day One of his Presidency. Trump (and his spokespeople) repeatedly claimed that attendance at his inauguration was greater than Obama’s: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/two-pictures-that-prove-donald-trump-is-lying-inauguration-crowds-washington-dc-womens-march-barack-a7539876.html.
…and that he won by the largest electoral college margin since Reagan: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/16/politics/donald-trump-electoral-victory-claim/,
#2: Doubling-down on a poor decision.
Here, the two deeply unpopular (and failed) attempts by the Trump administration to ban travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries will suffice: https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-03-15/trump-s-second-travel-ban-is-blocked-by-u-s-judge-j0bk602s.
#3: Thinking/pretending you know more than you actually do.
In this video compilation, Trump claims he is better than anyone else at 24 different things, including “the military” as he puts it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzbHXKp6Y6I.
#4: Not taking your position seriously. Trump’s refusal to divest from his businesses while serving as our nation’s President smacks of putting personal interest above patriotic duty: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-finance-idUSKBN14V21I.
#5: Blaming others for your mistakes. When the Republican Healthcare Bill (AHCA or “TrumpCare”) failed to pass the majority Republican House the first time around, Trump assigned blame to the Democrats: http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/24/politics/donald-trump-health-care-blame/.
#6: Talking too much. His rambling press conferences: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/02/donald-trump-press-conference-media.
#7: Thinking that everyone is against you. In October of last year, Trump claimed there was a “global conspiracy” against him: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/13/donald-trump-leans-in-hard-to-the-conspiracy-theory-of-the-2016-election/?utm_term=.29dcb1e2fcc7.
#8: Taking yourself too seriously. His gleeful interest in how poor the ratings were for the “The Apprentice” while Arnold Schwarzenegger was host suggests to me that he takes himself a bit too seriously: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/04/trump-tweets-schwarzenegger-fired-by-his-ratings-not-by-me.html.
#9: Not listening. Trump’s decision to forgo daily intelligence briefings could be seen as an unwillingness to listen: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/12/trump-claims-he-doesnt-need-daily-intelligence-briefings-because-hes-a-smart-person.html.
And according to some, Trump may not be listening to US Generals: http://www.defenseone.com/politics/2017/02/winning-or-not-trump-doesnt-seem-be-listening-his-generals/135781/.
#10: Not following through on what you say. Trump seems to have decided not to prosecute Clinton, after all but promising to: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/22/us/politics/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-investigation.html?_r=0.
And then there is his reversal/flip-flop on Medicaid:
#11: Poor organizational skills. This is admittedly difficult to quantify, much less prove. Nevertheless, it seems at least some management “experts” feel Trump is anything but an able administrator: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/02/business/donald-trump-management-style.html.
#12: Poor work ethic. Trump golfs a lot for a new president. A lot. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-often-trump-golfed-during-first-100-days-compared-to-obama-bush-and-clinton-2017-4.
#13: Making threats. Idle, veiled, or otherwise. I’m tempted to cite Trump’s repeated threats to sue people, or threatening judges who rule against him, but his tweet on May 12 (8:26 am) referring to the recently fired FBI Director will suffice: “James Comey had better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
#14: Blaming your predecessor for your own problems. “I have to say that the world is a mess. I inherited a mess.” From: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2017/04/06/how-much-longer-can-trump-blame-obama/ocaP2Kis0dkWumAzA9wBKO/story.html.
#15: Lack of transparency. Trump’s recent threat to discontinue press briefings: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/05/12/trump_suggests_he_ll_end_press_briefings_threatens_comey_with_an_allusion.html.
#16: Spending a lot of time out of the office. Trips to Mar-a-lago have become somewhat of a norm: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/328203-trump-on-pace-to-spend-more-in-first-year-on-travel-than-obama-did-in.
#17: Feeling threatened by your own employees. Trump’s decision to remove Steve Bannon from the National Security Council is thought by some to have been in part a response to feeling upstaged by him: “’I am my own strategist,’ Mr. Trump told the New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin…a pointed reference to what aides described as his growing irritation that Mr. Bannon’s allies are calling him the mastermind behind Mr. Trump’s victory…” From: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/us/politics/steve-bannon-white-house-trump.html.
#18: Creating a crisis to distract from other issues. Fairly or unfairly, the April bombing of Syria has been seen by some as a way of distracting the public from the struggles of the new administration: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/04/donald-trumps-symbolic-strike-syria-170407122029617.html.
#19: Refusing to apologize when you’re wrong. Trump has refused to apologize to Obama for his baseless lie that the former President had Trump’s phones wiretapped (not to mention that whole birth certificate thing): http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/03/trump-refuses-to-apologize-drags-germany-into-wiretapping-lie.
#20: Repeated shake-ups of your closest advisors. April 7: https://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trump-considering-major-shakeup-of-senior-white-house-team-1491588185. May 15: http://nypost.com/2017/05/15/white-house-counsel-could-be-first-to-go-in-staff-shake-up/.
#21: Nepotism. Trump has named his daughter Ivanka as an official White House advisor: http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/29/politics/ivanka-trump-white-house-job/.
…and son-in-law Jared Kushner as senior White House advisor: http://fortune.com/2017/03/27/jared-kushner-white-house-roles/.
#22: Making promises you can’t keep. Believe it or not, at one point Trump promised healthcare for everyone: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/03/13/trump-promised-insurance-for-everyone-trumpcare-would-leave-52-million-without-it-cbo-says.
#23: Ignoring the facts. Trump’s executive order concerning climate change would seem to fit the bill here: http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/trump-executive-order-on-climate-policies#.WRurX1KZM1g.
#24: Shouting down those you disagree with. (Media) “Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election.” From: http://money.cnn.com/2017/02/06/media/donald-trump-poll-denialism/.
#25: Boasting about “your” accomplishments. It’s not uncommon for a President to laud one’s own accomplishments, but Trump has done so in a way that is perhaps particularly self-congratulatory. For example, on Feb 16, 2017, he couldn’t seem to help himself from pointing out that “I just got here” before going on to list his administration’s presumptive achievements: http://www.msnbc.com/hardball/watch/trump-brags-about-accomplishments-in-office-879189571517.
And on April 6, 2017, he boasted “I think we’ve had one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of the presidency.” http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/04/trump-boasts-historically-successful-13-weeks-of-presidency.html.
#26: Gloating. Trump continues to bring up his election victory well into his term, including at a recent rally in Kentucky: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/us/politics/donald-trump-louisville-kentucky.html.
And finally, a word to those of you who might be tempted to argue that Obama did something similar on occasion, or that Clinton would have behaved similarly in these circumstances. Keep in mind this isn’t a partisan thing; it’s a management thing.
Bad habits are bad habits.
See you next Friday.