Friday

About ideology and leadership

200705
(answer to a question about "Ideology and 'Leadership' in Your World")

Ideology can be a means of leadership (ie to challenge, reach, maintain, strengthen the status), but one doesn't necessarily need it to enjoy leadership. Content generally matters less than the look, or charisma. When both are combined, that can be very efficient and potentially dangerous, depending on the character and the ideology : the first face that generally comes to mind when you mention "ideology" and "leadership" is Adolph Hitler's.

The rencent French presidential elections opposed two styles of leadership and clearly raised the issue of ideology, traditionally a taboo in French politics (it echoes dark periods of our history). Both finalists had a lot of charisma and overused images and symbols, but one would rely on an outspoken and consistent ideology (the winner, Nicolas Sarkozy) while the other (Segolene Royal) avoided the issues because her own camp was too divided to agree on a clear and consistent vision (not to mention the lack of consistence of the candidate herself). The socialists had to admit this failure on ideology cost them the elections. Note that Blair also won 10 years ago on that turf. Time will tell whether Sarkozy can deliver the goods he promised... or the evils he is sometimes stimulating.

To me, true leadership is about changing the ideology, not surfing on it.

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