Exploring Human Potential

How To Expel Trump From The “Island of Common Stewardship”

Posted on | June 5, 2017 | 8 Comments

Mike Magee

In our lifetime, we have witnessed the emergence of the Internet and HIV, of globalization and overnight delivery, of bubbles and bursts in our stock market, of the genomic revolution and the aging revolution.  We have witnessed as well great preparation for war, but little preparation for peace.

But we have never experienced change like this. We have a President who is brazenly and unapologetically regressive. His self-propelled rise advantaged change and magnified fear in a segment of our population.

Three decades ago, while simultaneously studying change and leadership, I first defined the difference between negative and positive leaders based on their approaches to change.  Negative leaders embraced fear, using it as a currency to mobilize and organize populations and achieve short-term regressive goals.  In contrast, positive leaders were explorers who used a compelling value-centered vision as currency, and through role modeling and the strength of new ideas drew people in as they worked together to shape the environment in the long-term to be consistent with their vision.

Negative leaders retrenched and divided; positive leaders connected across the divide.  Negative leaders segregated; positive leaders aggregated. Negative leaders built walls.  Positive leaders built  “islands of common stewardship.”

On these islands, one consistently found qualities like openness, inclusiveness, cultural sensitivity, justice, opportunity for all, goodness and fairness.

On these islands people spoke a common language grounded in shared values and a unified vision for the future.  They shared as well common tools including lifelong learning, new technologies, curiosity, introspection and an active social conscience.

On these island existed formative relationships, that is, as I care for you, you form me as a human being.  And on these islands there was a rich supply of renewable capital – human capital, financial capital, and social capital – the equity captured between two individuals committed to each other’s success and to the concept of cooperative productivity.

How do we combat Trumpian fear? 

First, we begin by identifying and advancing positive leaders.  That means voting for people who lead with vision rather than fear.

Second, never stay silent in the face of evil or injustice.  Silence forever entraps you and defines you as passive, vulnerable and insecure.  Better to have the courage and take the risk of speaking up and standing out.

Third, persist and endure.  We will face many small and large challenges in our personal and professional lives that create anxiety and fear and seem overwhelming at the time. Find strength in character.

Fourth, pursue balance.  Our skills, aptitude and ambition assure success but not our happiness.  Happiness evolves from a life well spent, from enduring relationships, and from persistent and sometimes stubborn adherence to the highest human values.

Fifth, have faith. When your head hits the pillow, transfer the power to some higher power.  Then take a fresh look in the morning. Things always look better in the morning. We are much stronger than we think.

People are basically good, but they are not perfect.

People are basically kind, but when afraid can act unpredictably.

People are basically loving, but when misled can respond with hatred.

People are people.

America calls. Each of us must now chose to lead.


8 Responses to “How To Expel Trump From The “Island of Common Stewardship””

  1. gary
    June 6th, 2017 @ 9:24 am

    To trash Trump to make some points about leadership, trashes your points.
    Trump has been redefined by his enemies, then
    they use their false reconstructed imagery to
    make what they consider SALIENT points.

    Truth is born of truth.

  2. Mike Magee
    June 6th, 2017 @ 9:32 am

    Thanks, Gary Buckner, for your opinion. Trump’s own words define him, his philosophy and his world view. As such, he offers a clear foil for positive leadership.

  3. Susan Pellerin
    June 6th, 2017 @ 10:11 am

    Donald Trump epitomizes negative, hate filled leadership that ultimately, and possibly has already shown to be regressive.

    So glad you wonderful book ‘Positive Leadership’ is still available on Amazon.

  4. Janice Mancuso
    June 6th, 2017 @ 12:37 pm

    Your words comfort and inspire us to stay strong and positive. Definitely worth printing, and posting/sharing!

    While driving through Colorado last month I visited a dear friend that I knew voted for DJT in November. I had no intention of talking politics so I was surprised when, at dinner, she apologized. I asked, “For what?” She responded, “For voting for Trump. I’m ashamed now that I did. I wanted change, not this.” Of course, I said she did not need to apologize to me, but I was grateful that a person I respect and admire had the courage to admit that she made a mistake and that she is no longer with him. This gives me hope that there are others who feel the same.

    Let’s hope our country survives this nightmare and grows from it…and that we remember how precious and fragile our democracy is. We must relearn how to compromise and work together, again.

    Thank you for your work on leadership. It matter now more than ever.

  5. Mike Magee
    June 6th, 2017 @ 12:57 pm


    Thank you for sharing this story. I’m certain there are many like your friend who just wanted to shake up the system and are now faced with a range of unintended consequences. You are right. We all need to communicate and walk back toward normalcy.

    Best, Mike

  6. Mike Magee
    June 6th, 2017 @ 12:57 pm

    Thanks, Susan!

  7. Denise Link
    June 7th, 2017 @ 12:39 pm

    Mike, after many years of active involvement in health policy through my professional organizations, I am preparing to take the next step and run for the legislature in my state. Your essay on leadership has provided me with an excellent framework for my campaign platform. I couldn’t agree more that now more than ever we must each choose to lead in whatever way we can.

  8. Mike Magee
    June 7th, 2017 @ 2:15 pm

    Thanks, Denise! Congratulations on your run for state legislature. They’ll be lucky to have your skill and experience! Best, Mike

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