How Do We Facilitate Leadership Training in the “Alternative Facts” Era?

Things are different now. As I coach the next generation preparing them to be leaders in our global community, I keep struggling with how to answer this question- 

How do we train & develop new leaders in this alternative facts era?

So far I am unable to find an answer. My colleagues, other Leadership Trainers and Executive Coaches that I ask this question to have yet to articulate an answer other then “keeping one’s chin up” and other generic platitudes that don’t fully address my question.

So what is better?- being a leader with a zero-sum – I win at all costs and you lose approach or a leader who inspires their team to be better global citizens?

Is the Simon Sinek-Style of Leadership still relevant anymore? Or is it better to bash everyone who opposes you and push our employees to accept less in return for more outcomes and less work-life balance? Do we generally abandon what we learned from Covey’s 7 Habits and Maxwell’s Laws of Leadership? 

Do we provide feedback & coaching to our employees with the intention of developing their potential or do we fire them like Trump used to on his show Apprentice?

Now I get this might sound fatalistic to some – but recently I experienced an 8 year old talking about grabbing the genitals of his classmates because in his own words “that’s what a real leader does to make American Great again”

The thing is we live in Canada but this is the impact Trump and the Alt-Right rise is having around the world. It’s not only impacting kids but also in the boardrooms. I had a client share with me that her senior executive team wanted to reconsider their HR policies on protecting minorities like “The Transgendered” and “The Gays”. In those senior leaders’ opinions – in a few months Trump will probably roll back federal regulations protecting minorities and those company HR policies were hurting the company’s bottom line in wasted time and resources, so why not get ahead of the curve now – was their line of thought. How wide-spread is this thought process in boardrooms?

A few years ago I shared the stage at a leadership conference in Halifax with Canada’s Trump Lite – aka Kevin O’Leary from Dragon’s Den or for the Americans the tv show Shark Tank. At this conference I spoke on a panel about the virtues of being employee centric and doing the right thing to promote discretionary performance from your team by creating the right environment so employees do things at work because ‘they want to’ vs. ‘have to’.

Well Kevin O’Leary got up next he completely dismissed what I was saying. O’Leary said that if you have an employee who starts to ask for more work-life balance because their wife complains she never sees them anymore. You should tell your employee that they have two options – quit or find a new wife – there are plenty of women out there.

When he said this there was a mixed reaction in the room. I wonder what that reaction would be now-a-days.

My reaction at the time was – are you FUCKING serious?????

So today my question to you – is this the type of workplace we want to encourage?

Can we still be hyper-competitive in the global economy and care about each other and our teams’ well-being?

I sure hope so. I SURE KNOW SO!

I am hoping you agree with me. So Now What?

Let’s make leadership in this new era work for everyone.  What are your thoughts?