The Leader as a Political Administrator

ILLYA SAVCHENKO, PHD, associate professor, Kharkov Institute of Finance of Ukrainian State, University of Finance and International Trade.

Among the major problems of modern Ukrainian society, in particular before the parliamentary and presidential elections, the special place occupies the question of political leadership, in other words, nomination of new people for the high posts, who can carry out reforms in the state and follow a policy which satisfies the requirements of the population. The role and place of the person who heads the historical process are considerable always, and especially in the conditions of radical change of public structures, development of global problems. It gives a special urgency to socially-philosophical understanding of a question of political leadership7.

It is also confirmed by the fact, that interest to leadership and attempts to investigate this difficult and important social phenomenon go back to an extreme antiquity. Already antique historians Gerodot, Plutarch and others paid main attention to political leaders and called heroes, monarchs and commanders as history- makers. Machiavelli has brought the considerable contribution to research of political leadership1. According to him the political leader is the sovereign who rallies and represents the society and uses all instruments for maintenance of a public order and preservation of the domination. The practical advices for the governors, developed by Machiavelli, which suppose a skilful combination of cunning and force, were highly appreciated by Cromwell, Napoleon and many other outstanding politicians. Views of Machiavelli on a policy are claimed until now. After all multipliers of structure of political process, ratio in political sense of economy and morals and other real essentials of public life in human nature expressions have not changed essentially.

The American and Western science gives a great attention to a theme of political leadership. These researches are very interesting. In the USA, Canada, Europe many people speak about a certain phenomenon of political leadership. Concerning this theme, the known American researcher M. Germann subdivides the factors defining a phenomenon of leadership on following basic groups: a historical context; psychological characteristics of the leader; supporters of the leader; relations between the leader and its followers; behavior of the leader. The theme of a phenomenon of leadership provokes interest of public and demand of politicians, that is, at the same time, brings a rare combination of glory and money.

Concurrently the problem of political leadership is one of the least investigated in Ukrainian science. This fact doesn’t promote growth of efficiency and productivity of actions of political leaders and doesn’t create a sufficient scientific basis for judgment of a place of the leader in the conditions of the critical period in the history of Ukraine.

We consider that it is explained by two main causes. First, the problem of political leadership arises only in the presence of certain political conditions and political freedoms. Its indispensable preconditions are political pluralism, multi-party system, and also inner-party and inner-parliament (fractional) activity2. That is, when there is a continuous political strike of the people belonging to those or another parties and fractions, reflecting those or another interests and aspirations of those or another groups of people. As a result political leadership as a practical phenomenon has came to light in Ukraine not long ago. Secondly, we can see disinterest of ruling elite in equal, proxy political opponents. So studying of mechanisms of functioning of institutes of political leadership, political management, and political elite as the important components of the Ukrainian democratic society remains isn’t claimed.

But public life demands the integral information on leadership from a science. Therefore in the article we will conduct research of political leadership from the point of view of a political science and we will consider some problems of political leadership in a modern Ukrainian society.

The political science considers political leadership as a power phenomenon, investigates its nature, functioning mechanisms, influence on a society, and also develops methods and practical recommendations about their selection and an effective management. The interpretation of the phenomenon of leadership has been modified greatly. The issue of collective six-volume fundamental work “Political history of Ukraine. The XX century” in 2002–2003 years was the considerable stage in this progress in Ukraine. The authors paid a lot of attention to the influence of subjective factors of political development on political processes in Ukraine from the end of XIX to the beginning of the XXI century, in particular Soviet period4. They come to a fair conclusion that the policy is impossible without political leaders. However their activity is realized under certain conditions, depending on historical and geographical factors, society type as a whole, type of a political regime, paradigm of development of a society, level of its social, economic and technical development, type of culture, degree of integration of a society in the world community6. The main criterion of political leadership is efficiency of its actions, productivity, and satisfaction of inquiries and interests of that community which sees the prospect in its existence. Political leadership can’t take place without wide social support.

In a modern science, in the presence of a generality of initial positions, leadership is characterized ambiguously. It is possible to allocate following basic approaches to its interpretation:

  • leadership is the sort of power, its specificity is the orientation from top to down, and also its carrier is one person or a group of persons, but not the majority;
  • leadership is the administrative status, the social position connected with decision-making, the supervising post;
  • leadership is the influence on other people.

Definition of political leadership as the authority, carried out to induce members of the nation to actions, shows that the power of leaders is capable, by its very nature, to rally citizens for joint efforts on improvement of the situation in a society.

The functions of the political leader are expressing (the ability to formulate and express interests of those socially – political forces); organizing (the ability to organize and to direct political forces on realization of the problems facing to them); supervising (the management of actions of political forces).

Historical experience, in particular Ukrainian, is evidence of the fact that political leadership is not only the influential factor of national social and cultural development, but it is also a basis of spiritual safety of person and society8. Its possibilities to keep and confirm semantic co-ordinates of the state system, to form perception and image of the state in the world give the chance to consider political leadership not only as influential professional and social institute, but also as the effective tool of internal and foreign policy, the important condition of successful development of the Ukrainian political nation5. The public requirement for updating of political and economic structures demands sensible cultural and moral bases. Immoralities of political elite are the first indicator of a “sick” society. Overcoming of crisis of values means to exceed the limits of economic and rational reflections in the sphere of morality and spirituality. In spiritually “sick” society political and economic stability is impossible. The decision of political, social, spiritual problems is connected with gradual clearing of power structures of deformations and distortions.

For systematization of researches of political scientists it is necessary to separate external conditions which influence on the formation and activity of the leader, from its own internal psychological characteristics and behavior. Thus, in the description of a phenomenon of political leadership we will allocate makro- (situational factors) and micro-levels (the person of the politician).

The most significant situational factors are political system, national-historical situation, cultural-national aspect, social aspect, political-practical aspect, political way of the leader, sphere of irrational and unconscious.

Conformity of sights of the politician with national mentality and cultural traditions of the people is the important condition of perception people of his sociopolitical and economic projects. The differentiation of politicians on sociocultural or ethnonational signs has quite often crucial importance at self-determination of the voter during voting.

The major component of mentality of the nation, a core of its psychology is national character, which is a set of defining national traits, people representations about itself, passing from father to son stereotypes of behavior and intercourse. The characteristic features of the Ukrainian national character which were formed in the conditions of harmonious confluence of farmers with environment are:

  • universalism, synthetical character of attitude;
  • moral principles as a priority, conservatism, adherence to traditions, static character of family relations and high value of sexual morals;
  • high sensuality and emotional sensitivity;
  • love of freedom, aspiration for independence;
  • democracy;
  • introversion of the higher mental functions;
  • disposition to creation of small groups in accordance with a principle of mutual liking, instead of identity of purposes and orientation of actions;
  • practicality, practical mind and aspiration for self-education, direction of attention not toward words, but concrete actions, priority of touch sensations, self-trust, diligence, attachment to the earth.

Ukrainians has a complex of “oppressed, persecuted and offended”, the warm sympathetic relation to “persecuted for the truth”, presence of heroic images of “saviors of the people” in national mythology. According to J. Campbell in order that hopes of “rescue” of an economic and social misery were coordinated in consciousness of the masses with this or that politician, last should pass in the political biography a number of stages typical for myths about the wandering hero:

  • rising (“the first feat”);
  • exile (“a long ordeal”);
  • new glory (“to protect the people and to punish its offenders”)9.

Modern Ukrainian political practice gives us a great number of acknowledgements of the given theory.

Now individuality of the politician occupies the central place in the researches devoted to a problem of political leadership:

  • person of the politician (orientation, motivation and character, intellectualinformative references, emotions, selfestimation);
  • calling for political activity (theoretical, economic, aesthetic, social, political, religious values);
  • style of leadership (authoritative, democratic and liberal);
  • professional skills (administrative skills, informative potential, qualities of leader, skills of interpersonal dialogue, skills of oral and written dialogue, internal motivation to management, professional competence, performing discipline, general working capacity);
  • freedom and responsibility of the politician;
  • political image of the leader (personal, social references);
  • supervising team of the political leader;
  • ways of having an impact on electorate (information and propaganda, psychological influence).

In modern political science there are some theories of political leadership, the most known of them are:

  • the theory of traits (leadership is a phenomenon generated by special traits of the leader);
  • the situational theory (leadership is a function of the situation, conditions);
  • psychological concepts (mainly sexual unconscious inclination lies at the heart of leadership);
  • joining analysis (attempt to carry out complex research of leadership, using all its components).

The French political scientist J.-M. Denken reflects if actors of the world of a policy are individuals, classes and the nations or groups developed on the basis of process institutionalization and exist irrespective of individuals who are their concrete support3. Denken considers that only the first answer is correct. A variety of available opinions can be reduced to two leading points of view: personal and institutional. Institutes are “rules of the game” which contain at the same time formal (universal) or informal (personal) sanctions and norms which show necessary stimulus to corresponding political activity.

There are three blocks of elements in the mechanism of political leadership depending on formalities, their maintenance and nature of carried out problems.

The first block is machinery of State and a control system with corresponding distribution of functions between various authorities. Politicians of different levels receive imperious powers through mechanisms of this block, i.e. conditions for a formal nomination of the actual leader are created. Some standard-operational code is developed here (it contains stereotypes of behavior, ways of actions, ideology of political functionaries), and also activity of the politician on management of a society within the limits of existing institutes is formalized. The matter of the concept or the political program of the leader does not play an appreciable role on this stage.

The second block of components of the mechanism of political leadership is the system of non legal regulators of activity of the politician (the statute of public organization, party, religious instructions, etc.). It is formed under the influence of interests of a section of the population on which politicians rely mainly. Such system develops as the relations between the leader and its “addressee”. They arise during realization of the program of the leader (its matter directly influences on the nature of these relations). Besides, the behavior of the politician is influenced by sights and preferences, stereotypes of thinking and behavior of the given section of the population.

The aggregate of determinants of a leadership in the third block is defined by essence of communications between two components: the leader and other potential subjects of political activity. The ratio “leader – followers” is constituted in the second block, but a ratio “section of the population (including the leader) – society on the whole” – in the third block. Nature of such communications is directly defined by the matter of the conception of the leader as it doesn’t only reflect political interests of a concrete stratum, but also carries out return action forming it.

As the mechanism, political leadership is at the first social level, i.e. at level of small social group which is integrated by certain narrow political interests. Basically it is considered that in small group the leader supervises and directs actions of group which, in its part, makes certain demands to the person of the leader. That is when subjective activity both the leader and members of group which make demands to the leader is shown, it is expedient to say about leadership as subject-subject action. In the conditions of display of subject activity only by the person, i.e. the head of group, it is expedient to speak about political management where the group is object of influence, and mutual relations get nature of the subject-objective political action.

As a way of expression of interests of the population political leadership exists at the second social level, i.e. at the level of political parties, movements. In contrast to group interests at this level the person of the leader is the expression of a certain sociopolitical position of a considerable part of the population. In particular activity determines a way of adequate expression of interests of a section of the population which supports the concrete politician and his program of actions. Elements of a political management are at that oppressed with total influence of moods of the big group (a section of the population).

As the power organization political leadership is at the third higher level, when political action of leaders extends on all society or its greatest part under condition of division of powers, social stratification of the population of the country etc. Under such circumstances power realization as the main component of political leadership depends both from objective (conditions, dynamics of realization of the political processes, existing institutes, etc.), and subjective features.

The Ukrainian political leadership as a scientific-theoretical category is, as a matter of fact, multi-layer, multifold phenomenon. Its role and functional value is also expressed by cultural-historical and national- psychological originality, peculiarity of the Ukrainian society and state. In this context the analysis of specificity of modern Ukrainian political leadership demands taking ability of the politician to carry out constructive rational actions relying on national traditions within the limits of modern processes into account.

Unfortunately in Ukraine we can’t see the attempts to investigate political processes preceded finding of independence of Ukraine with the purpose of understanding the components of realization of political leadership. The neglect of accumulated experience causes in a political top an illusion of possibility to begin a writing of a political life with a blank leaf. At that struggle is basically conducted between separate political groups with the purpose of statement and recognition of a priority of interests, rights and freedom of political interaction10.

Today the national system of political leadership is formed in Ukraine. It should be based on the got political experience of all previous epoch, each of which has enriched domestic political history. Change of the matter and functions of political leadership, its model is defined by dynamics of public transformations and concrete historical situation. The further development of Ukraine (not only in political sphere) in many respects depends on construction of adequate system of political leadership which would meet actual requirements of the Ukrainian society at the present stage. Positive turn of present situation can take place in the conditions of pluralism, competition between various political forces, readiness of their leaders to follow democratic and universal values. Democratic procedures and people power in terms of possibilities of real choice of the leaders which are capable to be consecutive in statement of those positions thanks to which they struggled for trust of voters are necessary for that.


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