It’s hard for my white middle-class middle-aged liberal-left-of-the-middle European self to admit, but it’s the truth. I’m more like Donald Trump than I want to be. (And it’s nothing to do with my hair).
1. I’m overwhelming, overbearing and pushy
I’m a naturally enthusiastic person. My interest and opinions on certain subjects can be very apparent to those around me. If your opinion is aligned with mine you might find this a positive trait and perhaps even find my level of passion admirable. If, however, your opinion is different to mine and I don’t recognize that, then you might find my enthusiasm overwhelming, overbearing and pushy
2. I’m cocky and arrogant
I’m confident in my own abilities. I know what I’ve done well in the past and I’m not shy to share that information if you ask me. Depending on your view of self-confidence and how loudly I blow my own trumpet that could come across as cocky and arrogant
3. I’m unrealistic in what I can achieve
I’m an optimist. For me every cloud has a silver lining and the glass is always half-full. I say yes a lot; ‘Yes, of course I can do that. Yes that deadline won’t be a problem. Yes, that’s completely achievable’. Sometimes I say yes without evaluating which can lead to problems when it comes to actually delivering what or when I said I would
4. I love the sound of my own voice
I have strong opinions on a number of subjects. If you nod along and agree with everything I say I’ll keep talking. My ego could make me think you like listening to me unless I check myself and pay attention to the visual cues of eye-rolling or yawning
5. I think I’m right
If you don’t challenge my views, my thinking, or my facts then I’ll believe that you agree with me. If you don’t give me feedback about my approach then I’ll believe even more strongly that I’m right
6. My ideas are one-dimensional and lack creativity and depth
I hang out with people like me. The description I gave of myself in the opening line could probably describe 90% of the people I spend time with. The less diverse my relationships are the less diverse my thinking could become. Cognitive diversity drives innovation. If I don’t actively seek out and listen to different views and information and ways of thinking then my ideas will become increasingly one-dimensional and lack any innovation, creativity or depth
The good news is that I can change all of the above (and so can Donald, if he wants). In fact we can all adapt our behaviours to make sure we have a positive impact on ourselves and those around us.
I’m not perfect by any means but these are the steps I’ve taken to de-Trump:
I’ve spent time understanding what my own characteristics and behaviours are. I’ve used hindsight and reflection to evaluate when a slight difference in my behaviour could have elicited a more favourable response. I’ve looked at each of my occupational strengths to see where they work well and where they can have a negative impact
I have closely examined what ‘presses my buttons’. I know when I have a tendency to use my natural traits such as enthusiasm or self-confidence in an inappropriate or overdone way. I’m in touch with my emotions and how I process them
I’ve asked trusted colleagues and friends for honest feedback. I’ve asked them to give me examples of me at my best and me at my worst. They’ve told me things that it’s unlikely I would have spotted myself. I constantly check my environment to see what impact I’m having. I look for visible clues like eye-rolling, yawning, bored facial expressions, continuous interruptions. They are all signs that perhaps one of my behaviours is being overdone or that I’m not being as encouraging or inclusive as I need to be
4. Listening & learning from others
It’s not enough to keep quiet when someone is talking; I’ve worked hard on actually listening to what a person is saying. By really understanding someone else and their point of view I’ve have learned how to have increasingly productive and positive relationships. When I see someone behave in a positive or inspiring way I do my best to follow their example. When I’m stuck for ideas I seek out people who think in different ways to me and work in industries I have no knowledge of. I look for the other side of an argument, I may not like it but understanding is key to expanding my own abilities.
If you’d like more information on how to de-Trump then let us know. At Mumager we work with organisations to increase and leverage diversity and create a more inclusive environment so that employers and employees can thrive.