There are a lot of people in leadership positions who have no business being there. They are the epitome of unquintessential leadership and the consequences of that are destructive to many people beyond their own teams.

It’s actually easy to know what quintessential leaders don’t do. Look at what these unquintessential leaders are doing and determine what the opposite action should be. It’s, sadly, as simple as that with many of the people who are in leadership positions now.

So, let’s take a look at what quintessential leaders do and are in contrast to what we’re all seeing on a daily basis.

Quintessential leaders strive for absolute honesty and transparency, even when it’s not what people want to hear or it reflects a failure or flaw on their part.

president-donald-trump-unquintessential-leader-COVID-19Lies. Spin. Angling. Avoidance. These are all traits of unquintessential leaders. Amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, people in leadership positions around the world have demonstrated these traits, but they seem to be particularly acute among those in leadership positions in the United States.

It starts at the very top and permeates its way down from the national level, to the state level, and to the local level. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, sets the bar high for all of these traits of unquintessential leadership.

It would take books to document all his lies, all his spin, all his angling, and all his avoidance during this one crisis (he is, however, consistently this way in and out of crisis, so it’s an indication of who he fundamentally is).

We’ll take a look at just a few examples. Since Day 1, President Trump has lied about the severity of the virus and its projected effect. He has lied about firing people or sidelining them when they dared to disagree agree with him.

dr-rick-bright-cdc-coronavirus-quintessential-leaderOne example is Dr. Rick Bright, a vaccine expert who was fired because he went with the science and testing data related to hydroxychloroquine (a malaria drug manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, which has been named in several high profile class action suits for drugs they manufacture, a company that President Trump owns a small portion of stock in).

President Trump, who is not a doctor, has been advocating hydroxychloroquine (with a combination of other drugs and vitamins) as a cure for the novel coronavirus for quite some time. The research, however, shows that it is rarely effective, and is actually responsible for a higher mortality rate.

Because Dr. Bright would not back hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19, he was abruptly removed, on April 21, 2020, as head of the CDC’s vaccine team and moved to another position.

On April 22, 2020, President Trump was asked if Dr. Bright was removed from his position (a very high-profile position in the U.S. government) because he disagree with the president’s recommendation. President Trump’s answer? “I’ve never heard of him. You just mentioned the name. I never heard of him. When did this happen?”

This outright lying. Period.

This president is fundamentally dishonest, which makes him an unquintessential leader. Even in simple statements, he doesn’t tell the truth.

The influenza pandemic of the 20th century happened in 1918, not 1917.

He claims he’s saved billions of lives from COVID-19. The latest (2019) population of the United States is about 328 million people.

He claims to have spoken to “hundreds of governors” who think he’s doing a great job. There are 50 states and 14 territories in America. There is one governor per state. So, even if you include the 14 territories (some of which have governors and some of which don’t), the total is 64.

President Trump’s dishonesty extends to being unable to ever admit he was or is wrong about anything

But President Trump’s dishonesty also is embedded in spin, misleading, and angling. He repeatedly states that the United States has the full capacity for novel coronavirus testing. What people hear is that anyone who wants to get tested can get tested. Today.

But capacity and ability are not the same thing. I’ll give you a simple example. I can purchase a 100,000 square foot empty manufacturing facility to make a product. With that purchase, I have capacity.

What I don’t have is ability. The facility doesn’t have equipment, raw materials, or people to actually produce anything.

This is the real problem that American states are facing with COVID-19 testing. For an excellent review of this, this video is as straightforward as you’ll see.

Quintessential leaders don’t try to bully or coerce their team members into becoming sycophants nor are they sycophants.

President Trump is a bully, which is an unquintessential leader trait. If someone in his administration disagrees with him, his first move is to make them walk back whatever they said or did.

We saw this earlier in this novel coronavirus pandemic when Dr. Anthony Fauci disagreed with President Trump. Dr. Fauci, to his credit, did not walk back his comments, but he did appear to try to soothe President Trump’s ruffled feathers.

dr-robert-redfield-quintessential-leader-covid-19On April 22, 2020, President Trump tried to bully CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield into walking back an interview he gave on April 21, 2020 to the Washington Post. Dr. Redfield stated that another wave of COVID-19 in the fall, combined with a new flu season, would make healthcare treatment very difficult.

President Trump continually says that the United States is past the peak of the pandemic, that it’s virtually wiped out (thanks to him, by the way), and “if” there are any new cases later on, it’ll be no big deal.

Although Dr. Redfield disagreed (probably under pressure, because I suspect this is how he would characterize his scenario) with the way the Washington Post article headline characterized his statements, he did not walk back what he actually said.

The unquintessential leader that President Trump is had to be mollified with someone making a statement to clarify something so that President Trump didn’t look bad and so that his narrative about the novel coronavirus could be intact.

In the same briefing on April 22, 2020, however, after President Trump essentially said there would not be any more cases of COVID-19 in the fall, Dr. Fauci, who has been seen less and less frequently at the daily coronavirus briefings, agreed with Dr. Redfield that there will be novel coronavirus cases in the fall and that, combined with the flu, they will be tremendously hard to treat.

dr-deborah-birx-covid-19-unquintessential-leaderDr. Deborah Birx of the CDC is the opposite of Dr. Fauci and Dr. Redfield. She is an unquintessential leader because she is a sycophant. She finds a way at every turn to endorse and back up what President Trump says about COVID-19, no matter how ludicrous or ignorant it is.

Dr. Birx is a lifetime bureaucrat and she has become proficient at playing the game. This is exactly what makes her an unquintessential leader.

She mumbo jumbos when she speaks, using terminology and language that most people don’t have any clue about, as she’s the great expert and her scientific peers are not.

When Dr. Birx speaks, she speaks like President Trump in a very similar way, if not style. President Trump rambles, rants, and raves, but every word is condescending toward everyone else.

Dr. Birx speaks with control – almost a monotone – using academic language, leaving any body language and personality out of her speech. However, her tone is the same as President Trump’s – condescension and disdain toward everyone else.

Quintessential leaders look out for the best interests of everyone, not just their own best interests.

Governments are notorious for having people in leadership positions who could not care any less about anyone’s interests but their own. Sadly, the majority of politicians fall into this category.

But two people in local leadership positions highlighted this to an extreme this week (April 19-25, 2020) during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

One such person was Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia who wants to open hair salons, bowling alleys, gyms, tattoo parlors, and massage therapy centers for normal business by the end of the week. None of these businesses is essential and none can maintain any kind of social distancing. This would not be in best interest of anyone.

Another such person was Mayor Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas, NV. On Thursday, she said that she wanted all the casinos in the city reopened immediately, and then, after people get infected with COVID-19, determine which casinos were responsible and close them. This is certainly not in anyone’s best interest either.

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of what quintessential leaders do and are, but these are some important areas that each of us should look at in our own lives as we strive to become quintessential leaders.

How are we doing?



  1. mepeep says:

    You nailed it! I agree, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens when Bright files a whistleblower complaint.


  2. […] lost our minds in this country. You can fact check everything now (including the president) using the brain God gave you and the common sense that all of us should have, but seems to be in […]


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