Analyzing a Charismatic Leader: Donald Trump

Subject: History
Pages: 5
Words: 1435
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: PhD


Born on June 14, 1946, to Fredrick and Mary Trump in Queens New York, Donald John Trump was best known in his youth as an energetic, fastidious, and assertive young man. Enveloping these qualities at a tender age, his parents thought that taking him to the New York Military Academy would serve him the right to thorough disciplining and eventually give him an edge to exploit his enormous reservoir of energies. Triumph, nonetheless, did exceptionally well at the Military Academy, passing out as a modicum of both social and academic reference among his peers while rising to peak of academic brilliance by excelling in arts, sports, and athletics (Griffin, 2012).

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It was at this stage that his leadership qualities were nursed, nurtured, and matured. By the time he was graduating in 1964, he was the undisputed student leader of the expansive New York Military Academy. Trump initially joined Fordham University but was later transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, School of Finance from which he graduated with first class honors degree in economics and real estate management in 1968 (Trump, 2007). In all his endeavors, Trump leadership acumen stands above board; his thinking skills, notwithstanding his philanthropist ideology, are all confluences of a success story.

Donald Trump Leadership Approaches

Effective leadership and strong charismatic personality has always featured substantially as the success factors in Trump’s business acumen. At the top of his priority, Trump has positioned himself under a commitment schedule that offers his leadership aspirations the drive of purpose (Trump, 2007).

Among the tried, tested, and trusted methods that Trump displays, as part of his leadership zest is his adoration for the modern-day managerial skills that are synonymous with corporate success, especially in light of the real estate management (Trump, 2007). His pilgrimage to the echelons of an excellent corporate leader has been fuelled by his ambition to self-discovery and the ever-burning need to transform the people around him, a feat that has galvanized world attention around his corporate leadership shrewdness.

That Trump continues to be a bombastic personage in the American fiscal frontier has always been a subject debatable in every realm of the American public life as most of his success stories revolve around his hands on the job leadership approach, his critical thinking, and team skills notwithstanding. Trump, nonetheless, is a perfect example of a real estate magnate, the world over, his popularity and real estate corporate ventures have been very successful; all these fact files put together, points to one thing – his secrets of success.

Trump Secrets of Success

Much has since been said about Donald Trump’s real estate empire, yet we barely get to very little as to the contributory factors for these great achievements. True to Forbes claims, Trump has impressively built up a name for himself in the most lucrative asset investment that stands at $3.2 billion, yet this man did not just built these massive wealth and leadership acumen overnight, he toiled to achieve all these (Bennis, 2007).

Like most of the widely cited successful and wealthy corporate investors, Trump according to Guo et al. (2008), had been born to a well do family, his parents were filthy rich, and this gave him a head start. While having been born in a lucrative family does not necessarily qualify an individual to such unrivaled levels of managerial and leadership success, outgoingness, initiative, intelligence, and fastidiousness are all the traits attributed to Donald Trump as the archetypical corporate leader in real estate development.

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Positioning him within these leadership paradigms, Trump ended up transforming his business enterprise into a tabernacle of unseen marvels. Trump’s outspokenness and his stab at the NBC reality show dubbed The Apprentice continues to make him a popular celebrity and a household name in the vast continental America (Guo et al., 2008). In 2011, he emerged number 17 on the Forbes celebrity top 100 list – an embodiment that adds to his corporate life.

Perspectives of Donald Trump’s Leadership

Approaches to effective leadership often do not suggest one particular way of managing an organization or people within it as a clear-cut methodology for outright success (Spector, 2012). Business leaders aiming to reach out to nothing other than success, therefore, need to align their leadership competencies and moderate their style of leadership in a way that matches the developmental paradigms of the markets they embrace (Griffin, 2012).

Donald Trump’s choice of leadership is that which is destined to lead the Trump Organization and Trump Entertainment Resorts, the people working under it to institutional performance and broader market appeal. Taking into consideration the fact that no single leadership style offers the best match to corporate success, Winston and Patterson (2007) posit that if guided by principles, and the drive of personal will, any leadership style can offer great meaning to the success of any organization.

Some of the principles, which act as the ultimate guide to any leadership style, are innovation, integrity, investment and capacity building, all these traits captures the context of leadership under which Donald Trump’s leadership thrives (Trump, 2007). In organizational leadership, such as the Trump Organization and Trump Entertainment Resorts, context is everything. Through these considerations, Donald Trump leadership perspectives have been effective spanning through a career that has transformed lives.

Leadership Styles and Theories Demonstrated by Donald Trump

Reviewing Donald Trump’s leadership acumen, one is likely to be attracted to various leadership styles and theories that inform the success of his venture within the corporate world. Trump passes out as a critical thinker, a strategist, and a keen observer of situations. By exceling in choosing these approaches to leadership, he has transformed his investment into a global magnate. While previous research studies on leadership tended to give traits much emphasis, the contemporary research, on the other hand, has always surged to justify the adjustments in these areas that gave leadership theories an edge in choosing the frame of an organization’s destiny.

Leadership theory is an expansive area of interest that often stretches to explore individual competencies, personal skills, and even innate traits. The commonly held worldview that shapes leadership study often includes elements of highly cherished models that have been presumed to yield better individuals at the helm of leadership (Griffin, 2012). Much of the attribution to Donald Trump leadership theories are informed mostly by trait and behavioral leadership theories.

Trait theory

Framers of the Trait theory hold that specific qualities could be attributed to an individual’s ability to lead (Spector, 2012). Samples of leadership traits could be traced in Donald Trump right from childhood to adulthood, especially when he was nominated to head the student community at the New York Military Academy. Trait theory examines the intellectual capacity of an individual. These intellectual capacities are characteristically innate; they range from behavior to personality and skills.

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Whereas the existence of a clear relationship between leadership success and these traits have either been criticized or disputed, development of trait theory continues to shape leadership research. According to Clapp-Smith, Vogelgesang, and Avey (2008), recent research establishes that there is a link between leadership and individual traits like logical thinking, self-control, persistence, and people empowerment. As can be observed from Donald Trump empowerment program, especially in his endeavor to transform peoples’ lives in his philanthropic zest, these qualities put him within the ideological axis for which his leadership has been quite exceptional.

These qualities, such as behaviors, thinking skills, and capacity building are traits that could be cultured depending on the organizational corporate motif (Clapp-Smith, Vogelgesang, & Avey, 2008). Taking on differing perspective, behavioral theory takes into consideration, patterns that inform an individual’s leadership comportment rather than the individual himself. Profiling Trump’s leadership acumen right from school days, there is great reason to argue the case for behavioral theory in due case study.

The effective application of this leadership theory offers the much admired value-style leadership (Avolio, 2007). Value-style leadership has the interest of the people at heart and always strives to put the people above board. Trump winning combination could be viewed under these lenses, and most people will always agree that both trait and behavioral theories offer the Trump model, a leadership axis for his endeavors, modesty, and success.


From a humble beginning, Trump had mastered some of the unique qualities that positioned him as a unique personality capable of becoming a competent corporate leader. Given these sprouting leadership qualities, it could be easy to contextualize Donald Trump into the golden records of the pioneering business leaders that the corporate world has always desired. Donald Trump, as observers note, captures the very meaning of the American struggle to the top.


Avolio, B. J. (2007). Promoting more integrative strategies for leadership theory building. The American Psychologist, 62(1), 25 –33.

Bennis, W. (2007). The Challenges of Leadership in the Modern World: Introduction to the Special Issue. American Psychologist, 62(1), 2-5.

Clapp-Smith, R., Vogelgesang, G. R., & Avey, J. B. (2008). Authentic Leadership and Positive Psychological Capital: The Mediating Role of Trust at the Group Level of Analysis. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies , 15(3), 227-240.

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Griffin, R. W. (2012). Management fundamentals (6th ed.). Australia: South-Western Cengage Learning.

Guo, C., Ruane, S. G., Galli-Debicella, A., Nguyen, P. A., & Manz, C. C. (2008). Dynamic Leadership: Toolbox for the Value-Based Entrepreneurship. The Journal of Values-Based Leadership, 1(2), 1-16.

Spector, P. E. (2012). Industrial and organizational psychology: research and practice (6th ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Trump, D. J. (2007). Trump 101: The way to success. Hoboken, New Jersey. John Wiley & Sons.

Winston, B. E., & Patterson, K. (2007). An Integrative Definition of Leadership. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 1(2), 1-61. Web.