As The New York Post points out, last week was very bad for Donald Trump. His magazine, Trump, was cancelled, and a judge rejected his claims that the book Trump Nation defames him by questioning his net worth.
It's easy to dump on Trump. On the surface, he doesn't appear to be a great business leader. While he nods at the importance of charity in his NBC show, Celebrity Apprentice, he hasn't embraced it with the gusto of say, Bill Gates or John D. Rockefeller. Nor does he have the brilliant business mind of a Warren Buffett. But while it would be tempting to dismiss Trump as an ego-driven buffoon, he actually exhibits some of the traits of great business leaders.
And just what is it that makes a great business leader? There have been reams of research on the subject, and the findings are not necessarily surprising. Successful business leaders tend to have confidence, the ability to inspire, intense focus, creativity, and optimism. Research also suggests the importance of dealing with, and learning from, failure. That is something Trump does exceptionally well, although not in his ego-driven, made-for-television boardroom scenes.
In an interview recently posted on the Psychology Today blog, Trump explains how he recovered from being billions of dollars in debt in the early 1990s. He says:
What helped is that I refused to give in to the negative circumstances and I never lost faith in myself. I didn't believe I was finished even when the newspapers were saying so.
I knew that things were cyclical and also I'm a firm believer that you should look at the solution, not the problem. I focused on the solution and refused to give up. Being tenacious is part of my personality and I'm not easily discouraged. It's necessary to be tough in the business I'm in, or in any business for that matter, and in certain situations you either have to be equal to the challenge or be defeated. Defeat is not in my vocabulary personally or professionally, which I think served me well in my comeback.
That ability to recover from what could have been crushing defeat is what allows him to be the celebrity-millionaire (or billionaire, according to Trump) that he is today. It also probably means that for Trump, his rough week probably doesn't really seem all that bad.