Donald Trump’s values and why he has a large following
In 2010 I read Donald Trump’s book on leadership entitled Think Big: Make it Happen in Business and Life.1[i] This is not something I would normally have done, but I was carrying out research for my own book on leadership—The New Leadership Paradigm[ii]—and wanted to read a broad range of books by well-known leaders. The question on my mind was “What is leadership really about?” What I discovered is there is no consensus on what leadership is about and that people write about leadership from the levels of consciousness at which they operate. What they write about is what they value, and what they value reflects their needs.
So when Donald Trump writes a book on leadership, the content of his book is a reflection of Donald Trump’s consciousness. Those who respect and admire Donald Trump’s values will buy his books because they resonate with the levels of consciousness that Donald Trump operates from. The same is true of Donald Trump’s supporters for the US Presidency. They will vote for him because they resonate with what he stands for.
So what does he stand for? Based on my analysis of his leadership book, I identified ten values that are important to Donald Trump. I have listed these values below and plotted them against the seven levels of personal consciousness model.[iii] The values followed by (L) are what I refer to as potentially limiting values—they can be divisive and threatening.
The first thing you notice about these Donald Trump’s values is they are mostly located at the first three levels of consciousness—survival, relationships and self-esteem. He is focused on making money (profit) and disciplined in his ruthlessness. If you cross him and are not loyal, he will seek revenge. If you are loyal, he will reciprocate. He will do anything he can to maintain an image of strength because he craves recognition; he will be economical with the truth and may ignore the facts. He is passionate about what he does and believes in giving back.
When we see potentially limiting values such as ruthless, revenge and image showing up as core values in and adult it means that the person had a difficult childhood.
Donald Trump struggled to get his survival needs met as a baby, so as an adult, he became ruthless; he struggled to find love as an infant, so as an adult, he became revengeful; he struggled to find recognition as a teenager, so as an adult, he became focused on protecting his image. Using Abraham Maslow’s terminology, Donald Trump had a hard time when he was young getting his “deficiency” needs met. When we struggle to get our survival, relationship and self-esteem needs met, we become angry. If we cannot express that anger when we are young, we suppress it, only to project it out onto other people later in life. [iv]
The people who resonate with Donald Trump are the people, like him, who are angry about not getting their deficiency needs met—the poor, the jobless, the disadvantaged, the less well educated and all those who had difficult childhoods. They want to vent their suppressed anger on authority. These are the majority of the people who will vote for Donald Trump, and they represent a very large proportion of the US population.
The possibility of Donald Trump winning the election comes as no surprise to me. When we mapped the values of the US population in 2011, we found a very high level of cultural dysfunction. About the same level, we found in Iceland two months before Iceland went bankrupt; and about the same level as the UK, a few years before the majority of people voted for Brexit.
When the governments of nations neglect the needs of the poor, the less well educated and the disenfranchised, there will come a time, if given an opportunity, when the people will show they have had enough. They will express their suppressed anger by voting against the system they believe let them down. These problems are exacerbated in two-party democracies like the US and the UK, where the main focus of the energy of politicians is not on caring for the people but on getting re-elected by making the other party look bad. Get prepared!
The shock waves of inequality are about to take down Democratic elitism around the globe.
[i] Donald J. Trump and Bill Zanker, Think Big: Make it Happen in Business and Life(New York: HarperCollins Publishers), 2008.
[ii] Richard Barrett, The New Leadership Paradigm (Bath: Fulfilling Books), 2011.
[iii] This is an extension of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. You can read about the model at this website: http://www.valuescentre.com/mapping-values/barrett-model
[iv] Richard Barrett, A New Psychology of Human Well-Being (London: Fulfilling Books), 2016.