Two glaring reasons explain Hillary Clinton's loss. We can all learn from them.

First: Emotional Skills

What makes someone a leader?

More than anything else, they must motivate others to achieve a goal. Motivation means emotions.

As carpenters work with saws and tools on wood, surgeons work with scalpels and their tools on the body, and plumbers work with wrenches on pipes, leaders work with emotions on people.

There's a widespread belief that men don't show emotions, but it's patently false. Think of LeBron James winning a title, the archetype of masculinity in the most masculine of contexts.

Every muscle exudes emotion. Now think of him winning for Cleveland. It adds a whole other level of emotion.

He's a great leader. He led teams to victories and a city to love him even after he left it.

For months, I've asked people why the candidates were running for president. Everyone could name reasons for Trump. They might not like those reasons, but they knew them.

No one could name Clinton's. They could name policies but not her motivations.

When people don't know your motivations, they suspect something. They know what you do benefits you somehow.

Did she want power? Fame? Money? If you don't give them a reason, they'll conclude it's something worth hiding.

Every great leader had personal motivations you knew. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for freedom and equality because he was denied them himself. George Patton was a well-known selfish racist, but he wanted to be a peer of Napoleon and Alexander the Great, which helped us fight the Nazis, so working with him made sense.

Donald Trump shared his emotions. Hillary Clinton didn't.

If you think leadership is about logic and being right, convincing rarely works and usually backfires. If you want to lead others, you have to learn emotional skills.

Second: Speaking Consistently With Your Actions

Many statements embody Clinton's leadership flaws, but one illustrates many parts of it:

I cannot imagine anyone being more of an outsider than the first woman president, I mean really, let's think about it.

This statement, which she repeated many times, contains two major catastrophes and two minor ones.

The first major catastrophe is that she is not an outsider. Nobody thinks of her as one. She spent eight years in the White House, she was a senator, and she was a secretary of state.

However she beat Bernie Sanders--who, by the way, showed passion and caring--she seemed to use some authority. That is, she had inside access to power.

The second major catastrophe was claiming being a woman as the reason for being an outsider. This country may not have sexual equality, but everyone in it has experienced women holding authority.

Many people who oppose her wouldn't have a problem with a woman being president, but implying that her sex is keeping her an outsider (when she isn't) implies they are sexist.

They will resent the implication. Each time a supporter calls Donald Trump sexist, they will feel slighted.

You may disagree. You may feel people should feel otherwise. But they don't vote for your reasons. They vote for theirs.

The first minor catastrophe is saying that she can't imagine being more of an outsider. To anyone who sees her as an insider, she implies a lack of imagination.

The second minor catastrophe is the condescending tone of "I mean really, let's think about it." Many people did think about it. They came to opposite conclusions. This statement alienates her from them.

Summary: How to Lead

In sum, in the critical leadership area of emotional skills, Hillary Clinton showed little skill, hiding more than she revealed. By contrast, Donald Trump showed passion.

Hillary Clinton spoke inconsistently with her actions and identity.

If you want to lead,

  • You must learn to manage and communicate your emotions.
  • You must make your message consistent with your identity and behavior.

How you act and communicate are as important to leading as the substance of your message. You neglect emotional skill and integrity at your peril.

If you think otherwise, I suggest you reread today's headlines.

Published on: Nov 9, 2016