Letter: A tale of two leaders


This is the tale of two leaders. One is an authentic, awe-inspiring American hero. He is a leader who personifies every criteria the definition of “leadership” requires. The other is a leader by proxy. He is a charlatan. A fake.

Our true American hero goes by the name “Chris Klieman.” His story is well known to all of us as members of Bison Nation. Our hero is someone who inspires and motivates everyone lucky enough to be included in his world. He understands, respects and is a gracious steward of North Dakota State University's football history and tradition.

He tells us to “Win the dang day.” And if we fail, he's taught us that it's okay to fail, but it's not okay to walk away. We must persevere.

Our charlatan is Donald Trump. He is our president. He is a fake and a poser. He is in the role of a leader, but is incapable of understanding its gravity. He is a spoiled, narcissistic adolescent who, by the cruel fate of history, is the leader of the free world.

But, he mocks the role of a leader. After firing, dismissing and humiliating 18 or more members of his inner circle, the proof is clear: He is unable to build, nurture and develop a cohesive team. That, in itself, is ironic because a leader has to articulate his vision. Trump is a man without a vision in a windowless office.


He insults American traditions by ignoring them. When he doesn't get his way, he pouts. When people don't understand him, he belittles them and makes them feel small. And you better look out because if he doesn't win, you lose.

Consider this quote from Sam Walton: “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” This is what Klieman said to Bison Nation before the FCS semi-final game against South Dakota State University: “This Saturday we play a great opponent, with great traditions. We need to raise the bar, Bison Nation. Do what you do best and get loud in the Dome. Each and every fan matters this Saturday!”

Walton said: “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”

Trump clearly is no leader. A leader knows that people are their greatest resource. A leader listens to their feedback. A leader encourages their dreams.

Jim Rohn, a business entrepreneur and motivational strategist, said this: "The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor but without folly."

Klieman is a natural born leader. When he told the Bison football team and coaching staff that he had accepted the job as head coach at Kansas State, they gave him a standing ovation. That's respect. That's love expressed. It's the reward earned only by a leader.

Klieman represents all that is great and good. And not only as an icon for NDSU, the Bison and North Dakota, but for humanity.

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