Analysis And Discussion of the Trump Empire

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

When we look at Donald Trump owns quite a lot of qualities traits which include self-confidence, passion, assertiveness, emotional stability and drive achievement motive which has all contributed to his success.

Since the early 1980s, Trump didn't keep himself reserved about promoting his achievements. He has passionately showed off his personal possessions such as yachts, huge estates and private jets (Payment 2007).

Trump (2007) mentioned that he has true passion for learning. Passion, which is absolutely essential to achieve long term success and that passion only has created business opportunities for him. Trump also loves playing golf and his passion has motivated him to create Trump Golf to operate world-class golf courses.

Trump (2007) also stated that "My motivation for doing these projects was never the money. I wasn't even looking for these projects. But my reputation for being passionate about my world is well-known". The passion for the work he does has driven him to come out of pitfalls and get back on track.

Trump's assertiveness is revealed on his own American reality television show, The Apprentice. He is straightforward in expressing his opinions, setting high expectations and demanding perfection for the contestants. If one is not competent, he or she is likely to receive a "You're fired!" from Trump (Naughton & Peyser 2004).

Donald Trump possesses emotional stability, which is one important aspect of a good global leader, which is being able to cope well with his emotions. An instance which illustrates his ability to control his emotions is during the time when he was heavily in debt. As he walked into the conference room, where the mood was very stressful, he was able to change the focus from looking at the problem to looking at the terrific future they had ahead. By doing so, he was able to make staff look forward to achieving goals instead of brooding over the failure (Trump & Zanker 2007).

Trump is also widely recognized for his drive and achievement motive in accomplishing the highest quality projects and buildings. He works long hours and rarely goes on vacations. He manages many different tasks and simultaneously keeps track of even the minute details (Payment 2007). One of Trump's golden rules for success is "Never give up. No matter what the obstacle is, you have to get through it and achieve what you set out to do. Never even think about giving up" (Trump 2008). This suggests a strong indication that Trump has determination and perseverance.

Traits, Motives and Characteristics: Richard Branson

Richard Branson possesses several personality traits, namely his endurance for failures contributing to persistence, being a risk taker, possessing emotional intelligence as well as having a drive and achievement motive.

In the realm of business, Richard Branson epitomises the equation for success. Branson has endured his share of failures, his Virgin group has controlled hundreds of businesses, the vast majority lost money, have been closed or sold - despite them he once said "the challenge of learning and trying to do something better than in the past, is irresistible" (Henry et. al 2003). This truly outlines his admirable quality of persistence.

Like other great entrepreneurs, Branson is not afraid of failure. But unlike many other successful business global leaders, he refuses to stay within the confines of a single core business. Rather than "sticking with what you know", Branson's credo is "if you know one business, you know any business", he also adds: "If you can run a record company, you can run an airline. If you can run an airline, you can run a bank. If you can run a bank, you can run a soft drink company" (Dearlove 2007). Branson has proven time in time; he is without a doubt, a risk taker.

Emotional intelligence can also be seen emerging from within him. He is self-regulated; he thinks that anger promotes counterproductive thus he tries to remain calm all the time. "Branson believe that his employees should be give top priority", therefore he spends most of this time motivating people (Morgan 2009).

In Branson's memoir, he wrote "having a personality of caring about people is important. You can't be a good global leader unless you generally like people, that is how you bring out the best in them" (Branson 2008), such an essential global leadership quality - possessing social skills, is not a common trait in global leaders. As the CEO, he would approach passengers in the economic class of Virgin Airlines, sit beside them, play with their child and collect feedbacks.

Branson embodies the definition of being drive and achievement motivated, he possesses a strong need to accomplish goals he has set for himself and is willing to take risks, because he feels a sense of joy upon its completion. Branson said, "I always pick myself up and try again. I prepare myself to have another stab at things with the knowledge I've gained from the previous failure" (Dearlove 2007). He strongly believes that a setback is never a bad experience; it is just a learning curve. This ability to take risks and having an opportunistic mentality gives him a strategic orientation and makes him proactive in his strong desire to achieve (Henry 2001).

Transformational Global leadership

Transformational global leaders focus on the benefits for their followers, the organisation and the society. Successful transformational global leaders can form and implement vision to bring about significant change to the organisation (Bass 2006).

Transformational Global leadership: Donald Trump

Trump can be characterised as a transformational global leader, there are four key qualities which are essential to bring about transformation. He has charisma, practices inspirational global leadership, intellectual stimulation and individualised consideration (Dubrin, Dalglish & Miller 2006).

Charismatic & Inspirational

Transformational global leaders are charismatic and inspirational. Such global leaders have a high degree of self-confidence, are enthusiastic and are able to win respect and support from followers for their vision (George & Jones 2008). Trump inspired people when he managed to turn his greatest challenges into success by earning billions of dollars all over again as he believes that failure is not permanent (Trump 2008).

In 2005, Trump proclaimed a vision to recreate the twin towers at Ground Zero. He made clear intentions to launch a promotional push to gather support for his idea of rebuilding the World Trade Centre (Herald 2005).

Individualised consideration

Trump loves to be deeply involved in the organisation. For instance, he calls employees to check out on the business. In the casinos, he would walk the floor, asking all levels of employees from the doormen to table operators to executives on the status of operations. An executive vice president at Trump-Trumping casino stated that Trump can be supportive and encouraging, because he wants to triumph (Kim & Mero 2005).

In addition, Trump commented, "Never blow up in front of your employees, when you're displeased with a worker, discuss your feelings with him or her privately, not in a public area where other employees might watch or overhear" (Trump 2009).

Transformational global leaders wholeheartedly trust their employees. Donald Trump likes to promote staff internally. One example is, the executive vice president of operations, Matthew Calamari. He started as a security guard with the Trump organisation. Trump saw him as capable, dedicated and trustworthy person and gave him a promotion. Trump states that people are multifaceted and it is vital to allow them to function in a way that helps them to shine (Trump 2004).

Intellectual Stimulation

Trump (2008 p166) states "Ask yourself: What am I pretending not to see? There may be some great opportunities right around you, even if things aren't looking so great. Great adversity can turn into great victory". This quote had a powerful influence on his followers inspiring them to never give up, being passionate, and keeping focus, to have faith and to keep momentum. He also encourages positive and creative thinking to obtain success (Trump 2008).

Transformational Global leadership: Richard Branson

Richard Branson symbolises a transformational global leader, possessing intellectual stimulation, charisma and also practices individualized consideration.

Intellectual Stimulation

Richard Branson provides intellectual stimulation by creating an environment that has autonomy and encourages creative. He enters into new markets through organic growth rather than acquisition. This method of growing and starting of companies allows him to stretch his people, thus enables them to be innovative and examine methods or problems in new ways (Manfred & Kets 1999). Branson encourages empowerment; he delegates decision-making authority to employees lower down the organisation. From the beginning, he surrounded himself with talented individuals and gave them freedom to be creative and they have rewarded them with astounding results (Dearlove 2007).

Charismatic and Inspirational

Richard Branson is charismatic and this is one of the key qualities in transformational global leaders. "His charisma comes from personal warmth and obvious liking for people" (Manfred & Kets 1999). Many would admire his courage in risk taking thus increases his charisma. Apart from his charisma, he is considered an inspirational global leader. His ability to communicate his vision of "Pick someone bigger than you" have been cultivated into his people thus allowing them to achieve what they thought was impossible.

Individualised Consideration

Richard Branson demonstrates individualised consideration by giving personal attention to his staff and develops on their needs. He gave his staff opportunities even if they lacked experience and training as a result created the impression that people worked in Virgin for the fun and excitement. For example, when Virgin Airlines made a pit stop at Sydney, he would stay at the hotel with his 200 cabin crew, and communicate with them and find out about their opinions and concerns about their work (Branson 2008).

Branson would also walk the floor; write letters indicating his home address and home telephone number to every employee allowing them to voice out problems, suggestions and ideas (Manfred & Kets de Vries 1996). He also reads mail from employees every morning before he does anything else. This habit, which he started in Virgin's early days, changes the company-employee dynamics dramatically. Employees do not hesitate to air their grievances directly to him, encouraging open communication (Rifkin 2009).

Entrepreneurial Global leadership:

Entrepreneurs must have a vision of where the company will be in the future.  In addition, "you must be able to communicate your vision so as to motivate employees, investors, and partners to help you achieve that vision" (Landrum 2004).

Entrepreneurial Global leadership: Donald Trump

Donald Trump is a great entrepreneur with a strong achievement drive, sensible risk taker, has high level of enthusiasm, and has a tendency to act quickly when opportunity arises and visionary perspective. Donald Trump is able to run the Trump organisation, take care of real estate properties, casinos, golf courses, education and services, along with entertainment productions such as Miss Universe and The Apprentice (Trump 2009).

Enthusiasm is contagious and it will inspire others. Trump's enthusiasm convinced his subordinates to work for him. He truly believed that everyone would benefit from working for him. "If Donald Trump had not been enthusiastic about his plans for Commodore Hotel, He would not have convinced me to work for him", said one of Trump's employees (Ross 2006).

Trump never sits back and let someone else develop the next great thing. For instance, if there is a real estate industry opportunities, Trump may be the guy who brings it into execution (Donald Trump Casino 2008). In 1980, The New York City Government had estimated the renovation of the Wolman skating rink would take three years and cost $12 million. However Trump did not think that way, as a real estate professional, he was confident that he would take a lesser time and budget to finish the project. The government tried to deny him until the local media attention begin to flare up and finally he got the project. He had succeeded completing the project with only six months at $750,000 under budget (FOXNews 2009).

When Trump was 25 years old, he saw a huge, rundown old building next to Grand Central Station and he immediately envisioned a brand new first class hotel to be built there. Despite facing some risks, at the same time New York City was facing bankruptcy and the state had no money to contribute to the venture. Another uncertainty was that the rate of tourism was also declining and occupancy rates all over the city were dismal (Perdew 2006).

Entrepreneurial Global leadership: Richard Branson

This is the story of a man with a vision that has crafted his entrepreneurial exploits. Branson vision for Virgin was to create a fun working atmosphere that people would enjoy being a part of rather than simply a place to earn a pay check. "Branson has been called a visionary, a sage, a guru even" (Dearlove 2007). Branson has become a visionary whose management style and philosophy offers crucial lessons for his followers.

He is a staunch believer in open communication being the key to a stronger infrastructure where everyone is devoted to the overall excellence of the company (Bower 2000). This is evidenced by a monthly letter to employees in which he provides much of the details of Virgin's future plans, along with his home address and telephone number for any ideas, suggestions or problems that might arise.

Branson also prefers to make his managers minority stockholders in Virgin's new ventures as they unfold, trusting them with full authority, and is proud to have created new multimillionaires from within his own organisation.

Entrepreneurs are known for their bold attitude, towards taking risks. Branson has proven time in time, that he is indeed one bold risk taker his actions have demonstrated that he is not afraid to challenge the status quo to achieve his business and personal objectives (Rifkin 2009). For example, when Branson was exited and enthusiastic about the prospect of running a Trans-Atlantic airline, the rest of the Virgin Group directors were not tried to dissuade him. However, being a risk-taking entrepreneur with an eye to a good marketing opportunity, Richard Branson went ahead (Lancaster & Reynolds 2002).


Traits, characteristics and motives

In terms of characteristics and traits, both Trump and Branson are similar in terms of their high level of persistence. When Trump was close to being bankrupt during the early 90s', he did not give up. Instead, he thought of how he could clinch other business deals. People were willing to pay him millions to appear on advertisements and talk shows. From the money he earned, he was able to get back on track.

Similarly for Branson, the loss of huge amounts of money and the closing down and selling of several businesses did not stop him from moving on to other areas of business. He was motivated to learn from his past and challenge himself to achieve more.

Another similarity is their motive, they are both drive and achievement motive driven individuals. Trump and Branson are motivated to achieve the goals they have set for themselves, taking each setback as a learning experience and move on to getting things done better. Each obstacle is seen as a challenge to overcome. When both were faced with financial losses at a point of their business ventures, they were driven to achieve better by clinching new deals and diversifying their business.

The difference between Donald Trump and Richard Branson would be that they are using different global leadership styles. Donald Trump is an autocratic global leader which means he tells people what to do, issues orders and expects it to be done accordingly which is called the top-down approach. Employees are not given a chance to provide any input or suggestions and there will be no discussions as they do not carry any weight in problem solving and decision making aspects of the organisation. An autocratic global leader like Donald Trump also tends to be task oriented and boastful and he is the force behind his employees, without him the organisation will not be able to function.

Whereas, Richard Branson is a participative global leader whereby he includes all the key employees involved in every step of the decision making and problem solving process. Employees are allowed to voice out and make suggestions which will be taken into serious condition by the global leader himself. He also influences the people working under him which empower them to achieve the goals that he has set for the company. Richard Branson is also a people oriented and humble global leader therefore employees are not afraid to voice their opinions. From here we can see that the main difference between the two global leaders would be that one is a task-oriented global leader and another is a people-oriented global leader.

Transformational Global leadership

Both global leaders had same ways of transforming and influencing the people around them, Donald Trump and Richard Branson transformed followers through their vision and goals. Also, both global leaders are charismatic and are able to stimulate their follower's thinking through encouraging creativity thinking. Like Richard Branson, Donald Trump is a man filled with genuine compassion and kind towards his employees. Donald Trump and Richard Branson fully embody the spirits of the transformational global leader, transforming their organisation into the successful businesses in today.

Entrepreneurial Global leadership

One similarity found in these global leaders is risk taking. Richard Branson, a risk taker by nature would excite himself by taking risk in his personal life whereby some had almost costs his life. In business, he would venture into business such as be airline, soda drink and financial industries where monopolies exist while others were bailing out. As mentioned earlier, Donald Trump saw the future prospect of building a first class hotel next to Grand Central Station. Knowing that New York City was in a financial crisis and tourism rate had decline at that time, he continued to establish this vision.

Another similarity identified is the high level of enthusiasm in both global leaders. Global leaders would not be able to reach their goal by taking risk alone. They must have the support from their subordinates. Due to their enthusiasm, they are able to get people fired up about a new business idea. After that, they would step back and let others run with it. In other words, they spur people on; to achieve what they thought were impossible to.


The success of a global leader depends on some of the traits he or she possesses. Theoretically there are several traits for an effective global leader but in the real world, global leaders do not have to possess all of it to be successful. Different global leaders would have different kind of traits approach and depending on their style of global global leaderships, when it is applied accordingly that will make them an effective global leader.

Trump adopts a more assertive approach in his working style and is less people-orientated compared to Branson. Despite possessing different global leadership traits, these two global leaders have been very successful in their respective fields. Though they may possess different traits, but there are also some traits are in common among global leaders and one of it would be courage. Being a global leader, they often have to make decision and some of it may take courage because if they make the wrong decision, this may cost them.

Global leaders are also distinguished by their motives and need. There are four types global leaderships motive; tenacity, power motive, drive and achievement motive and strong work ethics. Depending on the characteristics of the global leaders, they will have their different motives to lead their organisation. For Donald Trump and Richard Benson, they both possess the drive and achievement motive. They are motivated and driven with high energy into achieving goals and after which they find joy in accomplishing it.

Not every global leader is capable of inspiring their followers, which makes transformational global leaders stand out. Such global leaders possess certain qualities such as charisma, which is being able to influence their followers to work towards their goal, as a team. One such scenario is Branson's trust in his employees, despite their inexperience and lack of qualities; he presented opportunities for them to showcase their potential. This raised the awareness of the importance of their tasks and their personal growth in the organisation. This also acts as a motivational factor for Branson's employees to strive for success for the organisation rather than for their own personal gains.

One important quality of transformational global leaders is the ability to bring change, having a bold mindset, of being able to take sensible risks in order to venture out of their comfort zone. They also are able to change employees' mindset, to enable them to view things differently from what was initially perceived.

Transformational global leaders are very concerned about their employees' well-being; they are also able to identify their employees' potential ability and will try to maximise their capabilities as well as give them the opportunity to develop. For example, Trump saw that one of his floor employees, Matthew Calamari, who started as a security guard had the ability to accomplish more than what his then current job scope entailed. Trump saw his potential and promoted Calamari to the executive vice-president of operations.

The most evident quality of global leaders, who possess an entrepreneurial spirit, is their bold risk taking attitude. Global leaders like Donald Trump and Richard Branson believe that they can exploit these risks to advantage and generate value. It is true that risk exposes them to potential losses but risk also provides them with opportunities. For example, when Virgin's stakeholders were against the setting up Virgin Airlines (Transatlantic), Branson went ahead. Instead of getting caught in the downward spiral of chopping fares and cutting service, he's taken a stand of reasonable fares on transatlantic flights with amenities like in-flight massages, ice cream with movies and soon, private bedrooms, showers and exercise facilities. Far from failing, Virgin Airlines is a big money maker.

The ability to grab opportunities once it arises is important because in the business industry, there's a high level of competitiveness, if a global leader were to oversee such a chance; they face the potential of losing millions.

Enthusiasm, being another essential mannerism, contributes to the global leader's drive to achieve and succeed. This in turn, influences and motivates their followers to want to excel in their fields as well. Such global leaders see the bigger picture and are often very ambitious. Entrepreneurs set massive goals for themselves and stay committed to achieving them regardless of the obstacles that get in the way.

In conclusion, it is evident that Donald Trump and Richard Branson do possess similar qualities but do differ to a certain extent. They have proven through time that their effective global leadership skills have allowed them to succeed and also pick themselves up after failures. We have learnt that a global leader should not only depend on technical skills but also be flexible and be adaptable to today's dynamic world which is ever changing.