Putin’s presidential victory suggests a modification to “leaders we deserve” theory

Vladimir Putin, as expected, wins a substantial victory in Russia’s presidential elections. The process raises questions about the proposition that social systems get “the leaders we deserve”

When Leaders we deserve blogs began, nearly 800 posts ago, commentators were quick to point out the implications of its title. Who are the “we”? What have “we” done to “deserve” leaders?

The questions were acknowledged as relevant and in need of deeper examination. It would be accurate to say that such an examination has been more implicit than explicit in subsequent posts.

Esssentialism and leaders we create

The basic idea and assumption behind the title to this blog was that beliefs about leaders are socially-constructed. A more formal treatment by Professor Grint suggests that ideas of an objective essence of leadership (‘essentialism’) are being challenged by newer ideas in which leadership is considered as a social construction. These ideas might have produced a blog entitled “leaders we create”.

Elected leaders

The implication of a social-constructivist view is that a social group has some influence of the acceptance and shaping of beliefs about its leaders. This contrasts with beliefs that leaders have objectively identifiable characteristics which make up the essence of leadership.

The measurable

Attempts to measure “essence of leadership” were weakened after a century of investigations of traits. This helped in the emergence of alternative proposals about the deepest nature of the phenomenon.

The elected leader

At its simplest, we can say that an elective leader is a person accepted as leader by a process of voting. This has considerable merits of reducing uncertainties as the constituency granted legitimate rights casts observable votes.

Putin as elected leader

By this reasoning, Vladimir Putin is the undisputed elected leader of Russia.

Do the Russian people “deserve” Mr Putin?

Some commentators argue that the elections were not “free and fair”. The election takes us back to the question about whether a society gets the leaders it deserves. Does the general proposition still hold? At very least, it needs to be re-examined taking into account the implications of processes which distort the leadership appointment process.

Transformational and pseudo-transformational leadership

The election may be a useful addition to the debate over transformational and pseudo-transformational leadership.

To be continued

7 Responses to Putin’s presidential victory suggests a modification to “leaders we deserve” theory

  1. Paul Hinks says:

    Hi Tudor,

    I see the theme of momentum that you’ve highlighted over the past few weeks as linking in to this discussion; I see Putin as having lost momentum at a time when we would normally expect a newly appointed premier (President in this case) to have momentum.

    It seems the Russian people have an appetite for an alternative Leader – interestingly not the leader which they’ve just ‘overwhelmingly appointed’. There’s an apparent paradox in Putin’s re-appointment as Russian President – a leader re-elected as President, but one which is lacking in popularity.

    The Economist ran an interesting article last week headlining “The beginning of the end of Putin”: http://tinyurl.com/799m2nq, the article focuses on Putin’s re-election as a formality but discusses the changing dynamics of Russia’s voting population.

    In its conclusion the article proposes Putin considers a path of reform – personally I’m not convinced Putin will pursue reform with the enthusiasm & desire needed.

  2. Yes, and the other Miliband was discussing it along similar lines on Newsnight yesterday. Plausible, but remember those Russian Dolls. Maybe Reform will pursue Putin.

    I must bring to the discussion my favourite metaphor of chess as a source of strategic insights. (And whatever happpened to Gary Kasparov’s political aspirations?).

    best wishes

  3. Talking ofmomentum: Arsenal score 3 against Milan by half-time. “Momentum” . Then run out of steam….

  4. Paul Hinks says:

    …. and Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona beat Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 to maintain their momentum and ease into the last eight of the Champions League – Barca’s style of football is memorising to watch!

  5. At risk of getting a long way from our starting point (and why not from time to time?) Messi’s performance and record 5 goals for the competition will be ranked at the very top of any table in football history..

  6. Note to Paul. Information yesterday that LWD has received nomination among top leadership and management posts in world. Will creative conversations make a difference to the ranking??

    “Leaders we deserve enters a list purporting to be of best management and leadership blogs in the world, with entries from such figures as Tim Ferris, Anthony Robbins, om Peters, Bob Sutton and Rosabeth Moss Kanter.
    The Dutch compiler of the list used a complex algorithm involving
    Google Page Rank, Bing hit count, Alexa Ranking, Technorati Authority, Twitter Grader, PostRank and FeedBurner count. ”

    More to come on this….

  7. Paul Hinks says:

    This is great news Tudor! … well done to all followers of LWD!

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