What makes a person a good business leader? A popular consensus seems to be that a good leader is able to not only understand each employee’s needs and abilities, but also motivate and empower that employee to use his abilities to the full. This requires that a leader take the time to understand the employee and to develop him to his full potential.
In addition, a group of Fortune 500 executives stated that they “valueflexibility…, and communication skills” (Terry, 2001, p.1). These executives also related, “Employers’ wish lists for new leaders include charisma, the ability to inspire others, the courage to take risks, awareness of one’s own strong and weak points, the respect of peers, ethnic diversity, and a zest for continuous learning” (Terry, 2001, p.1).
There are many other traits that earmark a good supervisor; for instance setting a “good example,” being efficient, thorough, and dedicated. “Flexibility” is also important. It is necessary to provide employees with “training and feedback.” A good supervisor is “consistent and fair.” A good supervisor also provides his staff with “recognition for a job well done” (Merit, 1998, p.1).
Several self-made millionaires have attained success as business leaders. John Bogle, founded a company called Vanguard. “His unique ideas about investing helped him create the first index fund, and the world’s second-largest mutual funds company.” Jake Burton Carpenter founded Burton Snowboards by turning his “passion for snowboarding into a business, jump-starting an industry and an Olympic sport.” Scott Cook founded Intuit, the developer of Quicken software. This company was the result trying to make his wife’s bill paying experience easier. The result? A $2 billion public company. Donna Dubinsky founded a $241 million company called Handspring. Robert Johnson founded BET Network, the first African American cable network. This venture eventually made Mr. Johnson $3 billion. (Merit, 1998, p.1).
What all of these people share is a vision, and a dream. They are efficient, dedicated and flexible. They didn’t give up, and they didn’t lose sight of their vision.
Another self-made millionaire, and business leader is Donald Trump. Although he is probably most well known for the reality show The Apprentice, Mr. Trump’s career began with his “father’s real estate business after he completed his studies at the Wharton Business School” (Trump, p.1). Donald worked with his father for about five years becoming so successful that his father said, “Everything he seems to touch turns to gold” (Trump, p.1).
Donald was able to use the experience that he gained working with his father to venture off into his own business. Donald focused his professional ambitions in purchasing real estate in Manhattan. As his father said, “everything he seems to touch turns to gold,” Donald was able to purchase “some of the most exclusive properties in the city.” His Manhattan realty holdings include, “Trump Casino, Trump International Hotel, Trump Marina Hotel and Casino, Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and Trump Tower” (Trump, p.1).
More recently, Donald has starred in the reality show that he developed called The Apprentice, in which a hand picked number of contestants competing against each other with the goal of becoming Mr. Trump’s apprentice.
In an interview with George Ross, Donald’s Executive Vice President, it was stated that Donald Trump’s success as a leader hinges on his “ability to make very quick decisions.” In addition, Mr. Ross stated that Donald is “engrossed in his work and loves the deals and action of business” (Kellard, 2004, p.1).
In the article “PLAYING THE TRUMP CARD – How did The Donald become The Donald?” (2004) Trump comments, “The one thing that he had seen more than any other trait in successful people is that they never gave up.” Trump also stated, “Always do something that you like, always do something that you enjoy doing, or you will never be successful” (Morgan, 2004, p.1). Donald Trump not only enjoys what he does, he refuses to give up. This combination of joy and determination has made him one of the most powerful and successful men in the world today. Coupling these skills with outstanding negotiating skills has lead to the success that Donald has reached in Manhattan; real estate that “offered the highest opportunities for profits while utilizing attractive architectural design, thereby winning public recognition” (Morgan, 2004).
Although Mr. Trump has encompassed several traits common to most business leaders, he has also managed to personalize his leadership characteristics. For instance, Mr. Trump does not hide his need for personal power, “every piece of real estate that he owns displays the Trump name.” According to one author, “The Trump name has a sort of wow’ factor and tends to place a 15%-50% premium on anything it graces” (Naughton, 2004, p.1).
This leads to the logical question, “with his name on almost every major piece of real estate in New York City, how does Trump accumulate so much power?” As “head of the Trump Organization, he has legitimate, reward, and coercive power. He also exercises personal power from his brand name, which is on everything from clothing to board games” (Naughton, 2004, p.1).
Carolyn Kepcher, an Executive Vice President for the Trump Organization and a Chief Operating Officer for two Trump National Golf Clubs, states this about Trump’s leadership style:
“Nearly all effective leaders rely on a mixture of charismatic, rational, and traditional leadership styles to motivate subordinates. Through sheer force of personality, through the powerful projection of an aura of glamour and successDonald Trump insures us, his employees, to exert ourselves beyond the call of duty. Many of us follow Donald Trump’s lead because we intellectually understand that he can inspire a winning organization to do well, which will in turn reflect well on us, enhance our job security, and over time, increase our compensation.
But Donald Trump also exerts control by traditional means: “I’m the president of the Trump Organization. I’ve got the title and therefore the authority. As long as you’re working for me, it’s agreed that I give the orders, and you follow them. And if you’re not interested in following my orders, well, there’s always the street instead of the street” (Kepcher, 2004).
When asked about his ability as a leader, Trump said, “Command your employees like a general. Stay focused. Get a great assistant. Don’t equivocate; when you present an idea, make sure it’s the right idea; keep your door open; play golf; think big; live large (Trump, 2004).
Donald also believes in tooting your own horn. He says, “Subtlety and modesty are appropriate for nuns and therapists, but if you’re in business, you’d better learn to speak up and announce your significant accomplishments to the world. No one else will” (Trump, 2004).
For Donald, time management is also a big issue. He suggests that everyone set aside quiet time. For him, “it’s between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. when he reads seven newspapers and catches up on the dozen magazines he receives daily. He also recommends reading books, which he does each evening” (Trump, 2004).
Major personality theorist would have their own explanation on how Donald Trump became a super supervisor success story. Sigmund Freud had his theory that behavior and personality emphasizes the role of the unconscious mind from early childhood experiences. An example of childhood experience Donald inherited the skill of recognizing a good deal when he saw it, since Donald would assist his father in his business ventures when he was still young. Donald has his father, Fred Trump, to thank for his deal making and entrepreneurial skills. Since watching his father, Fred, and seeing what his father had accomplished in owning his business and recognized that money could be made in real estate Donald decided to do the same. Freud with the thoughts of psychoanalysis and the notion of the unconscious mind can harness certain events in which influenced Donald to strive to be the man he is today (Mischel, Shoda, Smith, 2004).
Donald Trump has transformed himself into one of the most powerful real-estate moguls of his time. Some examples of his real-estate portfolio would be ownership of “Trump Tower on 5th Av., Trump Parc, the Plaza Hotel, and the New Jersey Generals. He also penetrated the casino business in Atlantic City and New Jersey, and transportation with the Trump Shuttle airline” (Ask Men, 2000, p1).
Other personality theorist such as Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, Erik Erikson, Karen Horney, Harry Stack Sullivan, and Erich Fromm had a different view on how Donald Trump became a super supervisor. Many countermined the theories of Freud about the unconsciousness as an important drive in human emotions, cognitions, and behaviors. Alfred Alders refers to the motivation to over come the feeling of helplessness to strive for superiority. These theorists idea was that a person can be driven by emotion and experience which Donald had to become successful (Mischel, Shoda, Smith, 2004).
Theorists like Hans Eysenck, Arnold Buss, and Robert Plomin believe that early experiences affect how a person feels and reacts. Learning experiences could modify behaviors and feelings that a person does over time and are based primarily on physiology and genetics. These theorists would believe that Trumps genetics had a major hand in the overall accomplishments of what he has. His negotiating skills and smarts that he had obtained from his father were used wisely. Making contacts rather then playing polo and sail in yachts made him different by using his brain rather then his muscle. Donald will be portrayed as an extraversion with the need to be the life of the party. Donald with an innate eye for business, and additional training from school with experience working for his father, “Trump knew what he wanted to do with his life, and whatever it was, he knew it would be big” (Ask Men, 2000, p1).
An individual’s behavior is primarily determined by his perception of the world around him, their environment and fulfillment of their Human potential. Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow believed that perception is the key to be successful. Carl Rogers believed that every person is good and healthy; Trump has a good heart, and is a regular contributor to charities.
An Example of Donald’s good heart is about an unemployed auto mechanic who once helped Trump get his limo functioning again after it stalled on the highway. “The man had no money, yet he didn’t accept any payment for his services. Trump was duly impressed by his generosity, so the next day he sent flowers to the mechanic’s wife, and a letter certifying that the man’s mortgage had been paid off in full” (Ask Men, 2000, p1).
Personality theorist like George Kelly and Albert Ellis had views on a broad range of research domains, examining questions about the workings of memory, attention, perception, knowledge representation, reasoning, creativity and problem solving. In their mind with the thoughts and theories that Donald Trump has made with his accomplishments his knowledge and creativity has made him very successful. With the efforts to anticipate the world Donald Trump has made a name for himself. Trump is driven, arrogant, intelligent, and he understands the psychology of real estate speculation. He knows the power of branding, and makes sure his name is on his property, lest he miss an important opportunity to promote himself. He even licensed his name to a Seoul building for a cool $5 million (Mischel, Shoda, Smith, 2004). .
In theories of John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner based on the 8 theories Donald Trump has a well diverse personality. Despite a privileged upbringing, he didn’t inherit anything, and went on to fame and fortune, thanks to his business accomplishments and his love of life. His knowledge, human nature and the opportunities that he made for himself shaped his personality. With many different experiences from defeat to overcoming a total loss Donald has become one of the most diverse personalities of today’s society (Mischel, Shoda, Smith, 2004).
Is Donald Trump a super supervisor? According to Mr. Trump’s right hand man George Ross, Trump is a super supervisor because “Donald has the ability to make very quick decisions.” He further stated that Trump is “thoroughly engrossed in his work and loves the deals and action of business” (Kellard, 2004, p.1).
In assessing Mr. Trump’s success as a supervisor, it is probably best to let his record speak for itself. Although Mr. Trump has a reputation for being self confident and extravagant, he has successfully gained worldwide recognition. His business ventures include real estate, entertainment, gaming, and sports. In addition, Mr. Trump is partial owner of Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. He has also successfully authored a few best sellers including; The Art of the Deal, The Art of Survival, and How to get Rich. Throughout his career, Mr. Trump has been active with several charitable organizations and is a generous humanitarian (Trump, 2004, p.1).
Kellard, J. (Oct 18, 2004) Donald Trump’s Right Hand Man, George Ross: ‘Firing’ Up Business Students. Capitalism Magazine. Referenced June 7, 2005 from,
Kepcher, C. (2004), Carolyn 101. New York: Fireside.
Merit, D. (July 1998) Criteria for a good supervisor. Referenced June 9, 2005 from,
Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., Smith, R.E. (2004) Introduction to Personality. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Morgan, K. (2004) Playing the Trump Card – How did the Donald become the Donald? Referenced June 6, 2005 from,
Naughton, K., Peyser, M. (December 5, 2004) The World According to Trump Referenced June 7, 2005 from,
Terry, C. (2001) What Makes a Leader? Newspaper Association of America. Referenced June 8, 2005 from,
Trump, D. (2004) Trump: How to get rich. Referenced June 10, 2005 from,