chapter  2
Classical Eastern and Western Traditions of Political Leadership
ByMikhail A. Molchanov
Pages 20

A key question in a discussion of political leadership is whether or not a ‘leader’s personality is a factor of potentially great or even decisive importance in explaining his or her conduct in the leader-role’ (Tucker 1977, 607-8) or whether society’s structural demands impose on would-be leaders a certain logic of behaviour and role expectations that principally define not only the style, but also the essence of political leadership in a given society. The present chapter is supportive of the second point of view without denying important variations that the personality of the leader imposes on the practices of leadership. It argues that historically traditional views of the essence of leadership, especially the ancient and early modern ways of thinking about the relationship between the leader and his or her society at large, are still of key relevance to the theory and practice of leadership today.