Letter to the Editor

Basic leadership MIA (Missing In Action)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dear Editor

and Fellow Americans,

Much has been said, especially this past week, about the rapid changes in personal being made in the Trump Administration and the perceived lack of progress in fulfilling campaign promises. As usual, perception is reality and reality, to many, is what the evening news presents.

So why is it so easy for one to perceive that Washington is dysfunctional because it is. I think it comes down to Basic Leadership principles are not being practiced by the Executive or Legislative Branches.

Every leader has their own style that one could say is molded by their personal strengths, weaknesses, preferences and past experiences. The success or failure of a leader is the ablity to recognize how to adapt his or her “style” to reach the end goal with the cooperation of the human resources involved.

General Kelly — the new Chief of Staff I’m sure throughout his Marine Corps career (from Officer Candidate School to Lieutenant General) has been evaluated on the following 14 Marine Corps leadership traits: Integrity, Justice, Enthusiasm, Bearing, Endurance, Unselfishness, Loyalty, Judgment, Tact, Initiative, Dependability, Decisiveness, Courage and Knowledge.

Now of course leaders are not all going to be strong in all of these traits but should have some combination of these to draw on. We all know “leaders / managers” that fall dramatically short or lack most or all of these traits — eventually, they fail and probably should not have been placed in a “leadership” position to start with. I’m sure you all will recognize President Trump has many of these traits to one degree or another and may be over weighting the use of some over others. By doing so what seems to be happening is unhealthy conflict versus healthy competition and cooperation.

As General Kelly takes on the Chief of Staff he brings to the table many years in a highly disciplined, orderly and professional organization — the USMC. He will expect the “Chain of Command” to be followed and that “problems” be resolved at the lowest level of the Chain of Command, even within the White House. I do not think he should be expected to move legislation forward but to maintain an orderly, disciplined and efficient White House Staff on a day to day basis. His predecessor from what I have gathered “sold himself” as a Washington insider that could move legislation forward - wrong person in the wrong position. As Chief of Staff I would assume the Communications Office would come under his responsibility. I believe he will need to get our Wall Street friend (Anthony Scaramucci) on a very short leash immediately.

President Trump, in my opinion, would do both himself and the country well to let his Chief of Staff do his job and rely on others to move his agenda forward. What about Vice President Pence - is he not a former Senator and should know what “strings to stroke or pull” to get things done. Why not use the “carrot approach” and call Congressional Members and ask how he (the President) could help them with some of their states concerns versus using the “stick approach”. He should visit a Bison or Cattle Ranch and see how Bison or cattle are “herded” efficiently. One only can herd Bison where they want to go so a smart Rancher will lead them to where he wants them to go. By doing this, animals are under low stress, few injuries to livestock or handlers and it saves having fence damages. From experience, cattle can be moved in the same manner. A win-win situation.

In closing, he should stop governing with “Tweets,” listen to his advisers, “use the carrot, not the stick approach,” praise in public and critic in private and get a copy of Leading Marines FMFM 1-0 and READ IT.

If he continues down this path I do not see much getting done unless a “common enemy” emerges to unite the nation and Congress. Of course, a common enemy of that magnitude would most likely be an all out war.

Both President Trump and members of Congress need to swallow their egos and recognize the damage being done. Many members of Congress need to read Leading Marines since many of them obviously fall extremely short of many of the leadership traits mentioned prior.

I hope for the good of America and the world this current Washington dysfunction is realized and resolved quickly.

Darrell A. Meister

Honolulu, Hawaii

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