There, in the midst of reports about the White House's May travails came the voice of reason, in the person of Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

When The New York Times asked Mr. Gingrich to comment after President Trump fired F.B.I. Director James B. Comey, Mr. Gingrich had obviously been thinking about leadership, with a bit of American football thrown in for good measure.

The president, explained Mr. Gingrich, "resembles a quarterback who doesn't call a huddle and gets ahead of his offensive line so nobody can block him and defend him because nobody knows what the play is."

Or, in non-sports parlance, the simple fact is that Mr. Trump doesn't share what he's thinking with the people who work for him, much less signal what he's planning to do next.

This is such a rookie leadership mistake that it's no wonder it comes as a surprise to observers, including Mr. Gingrich.

His perspective is that Mr. Trump's go-it-alone approach worked "brilliantly for him as an entrepreneur, and it worked pretty well" for him as a candidate. Well, sort of, since Mr. Trump did certainly win the election. But it begs the question about whether Mr. Trump's business career would have been more successful if he wasn't such a lone wolf.

In any case, Mr. Gingrich worries that Mr. Trump's isolation "minimizes the ability of the presidency to both protect him from mistakes and to maximize his strengths. At some point, I hope he's going to learn" that it's better to take an extra day to line up the team.

And that's the lesson that every great leader learns very early: the power of bringing his or her team together, working through issues, agreeing on an outcome and then moving forward. When my firm supports senior leadership teams, we often facilitate a workshop to help every member become comfortable with the strategy and prepare to articulate it with his or her teams.

But, Mr. Trump hasn't adjusted his approach just because he's, you know, leader of the free world. As Shark Tank star, investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has said, it's critical to reach consensus with the people who work for you.

"You've got to sit down and where people disagree with you, you've got to say, 'Look, there's going to be issues, but let's discuss this. We'll communicate so that you don't have to communicate with the public. If you have a problem, have that problem with me, and tell me, and let's resolve it.'"

Mr. Cuban was referring specifically to the leak problem that's still plaguing The White House. But the advice is just as relevant for making sure that every team member understands what he or she should be doing, or in the case of Mr. Trump's communication team, saying.

I feel inspired to quote Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once more, since this quote so accurately sums up Mr. Trump's problem: ""We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."  Especially when your collar is feeling a little tight.

Published on: May 16, 2017
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