Donald Trump or the Victory of Narcissism: Management of the Future?

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When Donald Trump won the US election, the horror of the media and the Internet took off. But are not we responsible for this development because we still pay homage to an ancient understanding of leadership?

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Trump: Negative Role Model for the Management of the Future?

No doubt, the election of Donald Trump appalled many - but was it really that surprising? Now begins the research of causes - and it takes in some place simply too short.

The understanding of the causes in the election success of the entrepreneur Trump is also essential for the understanding of leadership, which in many Company prevails. To put it bluntly, is entrepreneur Trump the negative role model for the management of the future?

Old white men

Old white men had trumped Trump into office, wrote about Robert Basic on Facebook, so those who like Trump have a rather conservative world view and fear of change. Basic himself is no longer quite young with his 50 years, but sees himself as one of the digital pioneers in his contribution to distinguish clearly from this group.

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Oscar winner Micheal Moore is a little clearer: In his contribution 5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win He already predicted Trump's election victory in July. He cited Trump as "The Last Stand of the Angry White Man" or the fear of losing power to a woman and the lack of trust in Hillary Clinton, to which the eMailFerry as well as the recent wiki leaks revelations certainly have contributed quite a bit.

Rust Belt Brexit: The Rage of the Suspended

And above all, of course, the phenomenon that Moore described as Rust Belt Brexit: Trump succeeded in gaining democratically dominated states like Pennsylvania before, using the fears of the working class against globalization and mass unemployment with (false) promises.

Fear, anger and frustration of those who have been suspended - these are precisely the patterns of explanation that are now permeating the analyzes in the (German) media, always with a view to the general elections in Germany in the coming year and always with the undertone, but the situation to improve and engage in dialogue with those frustrated and depraved, thus convincing them of their good, true and important values.

Filterblase or the stupid trump selectors

But it is not that easy. This is often quoted in connection with the US election Dunning-Kruger effect, is indeed a cognitive distortion in which relatively incompetent people tend to overestimate themselves. But let's be honest: Who does not even exaggerate himself? And who likes to hear that he is stupid and incompetent? Just.

So, if in the media and in my timeline the horror outweighs the stupid, stupid Trump voters, this not only reveals a gigantic filter bubble, which suggests the majority thinks like you, but it always swings a bit of arrogance and arrogance with wanting to teach these people.

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Arguing in post-factual society

Or like brain researcher Gerald Hüther recently in a talk of the Deutschlandfunks on the subject Arguing in post-factual society meaningfully said: With the raised index finger one reaches nothing, changes of the attitudes arise only if the experience values ​​change. Not for nothing Günther Dueck asks something provocatively in his blog: What checks one with 30 IQ points less?

Should one leave it to persuade other people at all? And in an emergency, simply search for space yourself? Why it is even necessary to reach dissenters Lawyer Nina Diercks writes on Facebook:

How do you reach the others? How do you explain complex facts and at the same time understandably that the simple solution that is offered for this is generally not at all? [...] Democracy, the guarantor of security and peace, lives from the conflict. It lives on compromise. But also acceptance. Perhaps it is simply what needs to be conveyed more in all directions: democracy and thus freedom always consist of compromises, of conveying opposite positions.

4 Obstacles in dialogue with others

In the attempt to convince other people or to move to a more differentiated thinking, one also encounters several closely interwoven problem areas.

  1. Some people just do not want to listen / discuss: For example, because they do not understand the long-term benefits of such a discussion. Because they basically do not like to discuss. Because you do not even understand the other's discussion approach (see 2) or want to understand it (see 3).
  2. Missing education: The problems are closely interwoven with our education system. For it is still strongly oriented on the industrial age and divides people into different classes at an early stage, which should fit as seamlessly as possible into the predefined economic system. Creative, entrepreneurial thinking as well as digital craftsmanship, as is now being demanded in the course of digitization, is not taught and therefore overwhelmed many, especially in the older generation.
  3. Narcissism: Some people have mature psychological problems behind their behavior. For example, narcissists have an early acquired inferiority complex, which they compensate for with an exaggerated self. As a result, they are difficult to deal with criticism, so block it immediately, but try to get rid of their personal frustration by exercising power over others. Trump himself is the best example of this, but it can also take far more absurd traits, for example if you act in a kind of defiant class pride against the "up there" or the "evil digitization" instead of looking at society as a community, by and in which you live yourself. There are not a few cases for this, some of which are based on 2nd.
  4. Understanding of leadership: After all, our society still has an ancient concept of leadership and (often associated with it) masculinity. So Steve Jobs, not only according to his biographers a total interpersonal asshole, is also revered by sensible people as a brilliant entrepreneur. Just recently, with very esteemed colleagues, I have led to a unanimous opinion: a manager has to take decisions, cases and responsibilities. The fact that individuals are no longer able to understand complex problems and make adequate decisions in the course of a digital and global world that is becoming ever more interconnected is often overlooked. In fact, team-oriented, networked management structures are much more up-to-date because they are more innovative, as Gunter Dueck once explained to personnel in the future. Trump certainly won because, in the course of the authoritarian management perspective, he embodied the strong man to solve the problems. His openly flaunted sexism certainly served him better than harmed him because he also corresponded to the apparently strong, powerful, sexually dominant image of men - and apparently also had an alarming effect on many women.

Complexity creates fear

So the fundamental problem is that with globalization and digitization, we are in a fundamental societal shift that many simply can not handle and that is too frightening in its complexity. That's why we like to fall back on the usual patterns of behavior, which have been practiced for decades and taken over from earlier role models, and often simply solutions.

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In other words, with all the desire, now the Trump or potential AfD voters to want to retune, should not be forgotten that often enough can lead to the exact opposite, see above. And that the problem will not be as easy to solve as one would like, probably not to 2017. That in the end it will not always be about good, mutual understanding, but simply about which group has the power of interpretation.


So what can you do? Can you do anything at all? Or one can only hope that people like Robert Basic are right, which summed up optimistic on Facebook:

The bottom line in all my conversations with the youngsters is that their attitude is positive for me. No matter where you come from, what you believe in, whether Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists. No matter where you live. It promises to become a more open, permeable and even more global world that understands itself better. That will pave the way for national thinking to belong in the “trash heap of tribal peoples”. They - the boys - will teach us that fear of other cultures, other sexualities and the aspiring woman - if I may call it that - served nothing more than traditional brackets for misunderstood identification of groups of citizens, the demagogues and powerful always for their own interests could take advantage of.

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