6.3.4 Political Leaders

(This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3 book contents.  An archived copy of this page is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/634.htm)

The leaders of political parties, and of each layer of government, have more responsibilities than other politicians: they manage a political team, they personify the government or party in the eyes of the people, and national leaders represent their countries in international affairs.  Their performance affects government legitimacy.  There are several considerations:

  • Leadership performance affects the whole team; some harness its strengths but others tell it what to do (
  • If leaders are overly self-confident, they may stop listening to anyone else: ‘personality politics’ (
  • An important safeguard against an over-dominant leader is to limit terms of office (
  • Popularity helps leaders to gain power and command support but is not necessarily an indication that they will perform well in office (



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