Leadership

11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have

11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have
Image credit: Shutterstock
VIP Contributor
Author of Real Leaders Don't Follow
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

American society is more divided and Washington more dysfunctional than I’ve ever seen it. And that says a lot. I’ve been around a long, long time.

If you’re wondering how we got here, it’s simple, really. According to Gallup, Barack Obama has been the most polarizing president in modern history, with George W. Bush a close second. Now you know why our federal government is so screwed up. We’ve had lousy leadership at the top for a long, long time.

America’s preference for political outsiders in the current GOP field – Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina – is clearly a backlash against that. And while I don’t necessarily agree that we must have someone from the private sector to unite us and solve our many problems, there are qualities that successful executives and business leaders usually possess that would greatly benefit our next president ... and our nation. 

 

 

 

11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have

Serious leadership chops

Serious leadership chops
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I’ve seen companies pulled in different directions by multiple political factions and silo behavior. Not only is it not a pretty sight, it inevitably leads to disaster. Great business leaders know how to bring other leaders together and motivate them to accomplish great things. That’s simply what they do.

Related: Hubris Kills Businesses. Humility Saves Them.

11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have

Serious management chops

Serious management chops
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The federal government just keeps getting bigger and more bloated all the time. That’s a sign of serious mismanagement by folks who are clueless about business and finance. CEOs are in the business of growing revenues and profits. To do that, they have to balance budgets and have strong balance sheets. We absolutely need that mindset in D.C.

11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have

Goal- and achievement-oriented

Goal- and achievement-oriented
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Think of everything that’s broken in America: the tax code, immigration system, entitlement spending, national debt, healthcare, education system, foreign policy … I can go on, but you get the point. Top executives set aggressive goals and achieve them. That’s what they live for. And that’s what we need.

11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have

Real life experience ... outside of politics

Real life experience ... outside of politics
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Life inside the Beltway is not real life. Having nearly unlimited amounts of other people’s money to spend is utopia. Real business and real life are not like that. That’s why politicians are out of touch with the American people.

11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have

Advocate for meritocracy, not bureaucracy

Advocate for meritocracy, not bureaucracy
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The federal government represents the most powerful bureaucracy on earth, and you know what they say about absolute power, don’t you? That’s right, it corrupts absolutely. And that leads to cronyism, unethical behavior, unholy alliances with lobbyists and a host of organizational dysfunctions. Business meritocracies don’t operate that way.   

11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have

Master negotiator

Master negotiator
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I can’t say that I think The Donald would make a great president, but I do think he’d be the most successful negotiator-in-chief we’ve ever had. Not only is America the world’s benefactor and police force, we’re broke. We can’t afford to keep giving away what we don’t have. Nor can we afford to let other nations walk all over us.  

Related: How to Take Control of Your Career … Now!

11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have

Plain spoken and direct

Plain spoken and direct
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The notion of choosing words so as not to offend others may sound relatively benign, but it’s not. It’s gone way too far. Political correctness is causing more of our problems than we realize. Dr. Carson may be a soft-spoken and eloquent communicator, but he’s a powerful advocate of plain speech – meaning we should be direct, call things what they are, and never limit our free speech under any circumstances. Period.  

11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have

Competitive spirit and driven to win

Competitive spirit and driven to win
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It’s a competitive world. The days of America as the de facto world leader are over. If we want to continue to lead in business, technology, innovation, productivity, and defense, we’re going to have to compete for it. We now have to fight and win on a global scale to maintain our way of life. That’s a way of life for business leaders.  

11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have

In it for the long term

In it for the long term
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One of the big problems in government is that politicians are incentivized to sell and execute on their agenda during their term to more or less reward those who voted for them and their causes. That’s short-term thinking. Companies that do well over the long haul manage for long-term stakeholder value, not short-term metrics.

11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have

Makes the right calls

Makes the right calls
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Success in business is all about taking the right risks, making the right decisions, and then executing. That’s business in a nutshell. If they don’t get those three things right, business leaders are not successful. Funny thing is, the same is true of world leaders, as well. 

11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have

Holds himself and others accountable

Holds himself and others accountable
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In recent years we’ve seen some pretty ugly behavior among U.S. presidents and CEOs alike. Lots of finger-pointing and blame-gaming. Frankly, it’s embarrassing, but more importantly, it’s dysfunctional. Leaders are paid the big bucks, not just to take on great responsibility and own it, but also to make sure everyone else does the same.

More than anything, a great leader is someone who feels so passionately, so strongly about something that he not only lives for it, he’ll put his life on the line to see it through. It’s that sort of passion and personal accountability that inspires others to follow. That’s the mark of a great leader. That’s the kind of leadership we had in the early days of this great nation. And that’s what we so desperately need again.  

Related: Want to Succeed? Stop Trying to Be Happy All the Time

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  • 11 Qualities Our Next President Must Have
  • 1. Serious leadership chops
  • 2. Serious management chops
  • 3. Goal- and achievement-oriented
  • 4. Real life experience ... outside of politics
  • 5. Advocate for meritocracy, not bureaucracy
  • 6. Master negotiator
  • 7. Plain spoken and direct
  • 8. Competitive spirit and driven to win
  • 9. In it for the long term
  • 10. Makes the right calls
  • 11. Holds himself and others accountable
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