What People (May) Teach Us: Emmanuel Macron, Trump, And Promises Of Unity

Emmanuel Macron will be the new president of France, having upended his far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, in the country’s election in definitive fashion by an almost 2-to-1 margin in votes.

In Le Pen, the loud echo was heard of the populist, nationalistic sentiment campaigned on and maintained by both President Donald Trump in the U.S. and the pro-Brexit leadership and contingent in Britain.

Whereas the U.S. and Britain decided to go with the leaders of nationalistic tone who aim to exit any deal, organization, or economic bloc or body which does not put their country’s interest at or near top priority, France decided to go with a centrist leader in Macron, signaling the French are not quite ready to leave the European Union.

With the election victory in hand, the transition from candidate to top country leader begins. In his victory speech after Le Pen’s concession, now beyond the rhetoric of promises made in candidacy that spelled out the steps by which he would move the country forward, Macron addressed his country with a strong point of reassurance.

During his speech, Macron stated, “I will do everything to make sure you never have reason again to vote for extremes,” assuring his countrymen and women he wanted to bring them together.

This is a lofty promise. But we’ll see how he plans to deliver it to and for his country.

“A split country, much like a split organization, team, or group, does nothing for you if you can’t draw together all the best and unified resources.”

Donald Trump had outlined something similar in his victory speech on Election Night 2016, saying, “Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division…To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”

But since that night, he has continued insulting and attacking his detractors, demeaning his former opponent Hillary Clinton, and holding campaign-rally-like events geared toward his campaign supporters. So, his promise, up until now, has yet to materialize.

Now, it’s time to see if Macron, one of a few European heads of state elected over nationalist opponents (Austria& Netherlands) since Trump took the White House, can keep – or attempt to keep – his own similar promise.

Politics aside, regardless of Trump’s leaning right and Macron holding the center, a leadership message to the masses is one that is closely watched, especially when it promises to deliver unification. No one can say they expect 100% unification based on campaign rhetoric they’ve heard to-date; most people are realistic when it comes to how hard it is to pull off such a feat.

Even with Macron, who has no base in any particular party to which he has to remain loyal — having run and won on an independent platform — it’s not guaranteed he’ll follow through. Although it could be expected that the values Macron holds close, based on his independent label and centrist views, would mirror closest the premise of unification, we still need to wait and see what will be delivered.

“….a leadership message to the masses is one that is closely watched, especially when it promises to deliver unification.”

In true typical political fashion — and as we were recently reminded of in the U.S. — once an election is won, all bets are off and anything can change, especially the promises. And that is what fuels our hesitation and subdues our expectations.

Regardless of where each of these men stands on the spectrum of political ideology, they were elected to lead a country of citizens, not a party of voters. Or, at least, the arena of politics needs to begin working, as a whole, toward this mindset.

A split country, much like a split organization, team, or group, does nothing for you if you can’t draw together all the best and unified resources.

But, in the end, how will Trump and Macron’s deliveries differ? How will they compare?

Related Post: Free Leadership Learning Tool: Learn By Comparing Your Bosses

How will they lead to unite their countries, regardless of political affiliations?

Will they do it?

Their legacies and their countries are counting on it.

Pay attention. The lessons are coming.

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