Teaching leadership a struggle in the age of Trump, says Kim Campbell

Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell is the founding principal of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College and she says teaching leadership to undergraduates is a challenge when U.S. President Donald Trump's style goes against common wisdom.

'What we see here is a lot of things you wouldn’t want to see in leaders'

Former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell, now a founding principal of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College, says teaching leadership in the age of Trump is difficult when he defies so many leadership principles. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell says the Trump era is proving to be a challenge in her work teaching the next generation of leaders.

Campbell is the founding principal of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta, a cohort-based leadership program for 3rd and 4th year undergraduate students.

She told the CBC's The Early Edition his presidency brings to life scenarios "you'd only find in textbooks."

"What we see here [in Trump] is a lot of things you wouldn't want to see in leaders —  lack of knowledge, impulsiveness, intemperate language, ignorance of issues. You see that being rewarded with power," she said.

"It is an interesting reality in which to try to encourage to be the most intelligent, thoughtful, self-aware, courageous, insightful leaders they can be."  

Campbell said she doesn't think his presidency will end well.

"[The first two weeks] confirm my worst fears which is he is not a man of very temperate judgment. He does not have an understanding of the need to draw around him the very best advisors to make difficult decisions," she said.

"He has around him people who are not committed. Steve Bannon is not committed to peace, prosperity for Americans."

Kim Campbell says Donald Trump lacks knowledge and is impulsive — both undesirable qualities in a leader. (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

As for what Canadian and other world leaders can do, Campbell said it's a tricky situation. She said she is able to speak freely largely because she is not in power and hasn't been for some time but others might not have the same freedom.

"When you are the prime minister of Canada, you don't have the luxury of denouncing somebody," she said.

"It's very difficult for these leaders to try and find a line to walk because pressure from their own population is very negative towards Trump ... The leaders of other countries want to have a congenial [relationship] with the American president because America is such an important player."

Campbell is in Vancouver today to speak at a Conference Board of Canada event at the University of British Columbia.

With files from The Early Edition

To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled Kim Campbell on teaching leadership in the age of Trump