Vladimir Putin is regarded as one of the most powerful and influential leaders in the world. He is the president of the Russian Federation, a position he has BEEN HOLDING since 1999 except for brief periods when he was the Prime Minister. Putin heads the world’s biggest nuclear force and one of the wealthiest nations. He has used a combination of strategies to remain in power despite significant internal and external opposition. There is a lot to learn from Putin, and here are eight leadership lessons from the former KGB spy turned politician:
- Resilience: If there is anything that truly defines Putin, it will be resilience. For someone who was an obscure intelligence officer, he quietly rose in rank until he became a lieutenant colonel. At that point, he resigned and joined politics in 1991 in Saint Petersburg, and it would take him almost a decade before reaching the apex of power in the Russian Federation. Not even the darkest times in the history of the country stopped him from remaining focused.
- Courage: It has not always been easy for Putin as the president of one of the most expansive in the world. However, he has always been able to weather the storms out of sheer courage. One of the most challenging moments for Putin was when he annexed Crimea from Ukraine. The tensions were so high that many analysts fear an all-out nuclear war between the United States and the Russian Federation. Even when he was accused of interfering with the United States presidential election in 2016 against Hillary Clinton to support her opponent Donald Trump, Putin remained courageous and brave in the face of it all.
- Intimidation: Vladimir Putin is not just a man in power; he is never shy of using force. He is known for gladly launching some of the most lethal and supersonic missiles in the world. There was a particular one that suggested a direct hit on the American state of Florida. Putin is always ready to intimidate his opponents. European countries are often at the receiving end of Putin’s intimidation. The Baltic States are often worried whenever bombers of the Russian Air Force are seen penetrating their airspaces in illegal maneuvers. This has prompted an outcry from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which considers Russia a serious threat to Europe’s peace. Intimidation is a tool that Putin has deployed several times and he is not going to stop anytime soon. There is the famous story of how he deliberately allowed his gigantic dog into the room when having a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, knowing that she is terrified of dogs – that is a classic Putin move. The most interesting thing about this is that Putin himself is never intimidated by anyone.
- Confidence: Putin has millions of admirers all over the world beyond the borders of Russia. This is because of the macho image that projects him as a strongman, one full of power, confidence, and authority. He is often seen riding power bikes, fighting in judo sessions, flying a glider, diving beneath the oceans in a submarine, riding horses with no shirts, or hunting wild animals. He portrays an image of confidence so it is difficult to ignore him.
- Defiance: Putin fears no one – not even the United States of America that has launched a barrage of sanctions against his government. Not even Russia’s refusal into elite international groups has made him cut back on his defiant stance on a lot of issues. The most classic example of his act of defiance is the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, where he has backed separatists to destabilize the region. Not the European Union, NATO, or the United States can stop him.
- Strategic Thinking: Putin is a brilliant leader, and he is always seen as a well-composed man and someone in total control of his emotions. He looks at the world from the perspective of a chess player. His moves are very strategic, and he plans out well in advance before he executes a move. This is further enhanced with the quality of the people he surrounds himself with, especially his generals, deputies, and ministers. A good leader is a strategic one. One of the best examples of Putin deploying his powers of strategic thinking was his intervention in Syria. He made a move to save the faltering regime of beleaguered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and recorded tremendous success in not just saving Assad but helping him defeat ISIL and the anti-government rebels.
- Nationalistic Pride and Dedication: Putin is so devoted to the Russian Federation that his marriage could not survive. Many Russians see him as the undisputed leader and appreciate him for his patriotism and dedication to the motherland. Putin is not just a leader in name; he strives to let the average Russian see his policies’ impact. For instance, during his first tenure as Russia’s president, the economy maintained a growth streak for almost ten years. The people’s incomes increased by more than a factor of two, the wages were tripled, he slashed poverty and unemployment by more than 50% and nationalistic fervor in Russia went through the roof. He can inspire a deep-rooted sense of love and dedication for the country in the Russians. This is a trait seen with great leaders.
- Conviction: Whenever Putin believes in something, he sticks to it no matter the level of condemnation or intimidation. He is not someone to give in to threats or fear, and he has done this repeatedly. Even though the Western powers deride him as a dictator or tyrant who wants to die in power, he does not care about critics and remains fixed on his goals. Under his government, policies were made against gay marriage and the Jehovah’s Witnesses alongside his support for Alexander Lukashenko, the long-time ruler of Belarus to a major outcry from the West, but he did not waver. Strong leaders always have deep-seated convictions and follow them.