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Early Life and Background


Discuss about the Strategic Leadership and Stakeholder Management.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is a Russian President born on October 7th 1952 in Saint Petersburg Russia formally known as Leningrad. He was the only child of a metal factory foreman father and a homemaker mother. In those early days religion was not allowed by the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was very strict on this matter but Putin’s mother had him secretly baptized as a Christian. (Shields, 2007)

During his young age through teenage Putin could hold is own street fights in the native Russia as he quickly became good in Judo and wrestling. Away from street life he attended a high ranking high school known as School 281. This where Putin begun to learn to be cultured and measured in his ways of doing things as opposed to judo and street life characterized outside school. He however latter moved to liberal arts and biology. In co-curricula activities Putin was known as a handball player. Spy movies also fascinated him so much and he aspired to work for Russian secret service known as KGB.

He joined Leningrad State University and graduated with law degree in 1975. He joined the secret service KGB, the only person selected by the service out of a class of hundred from his school. In 1991 Putin started joining politics and by 1994 he became Deputy Mayor of St Petersburg. By 1999 Putin became acting President of Russia in a stunning political raise.

This analysis intent to cover a number of areas regarding President Putin way of leadership ranging from skills and traits he possesses, behaviors, influence processes and aspects that can be learned from him. This paper will draw references from President Biographies as well as other credible sources like academic journals and news reports. (Shields, 2007)

Trait theory of leadership works on the premise that leadership traits are innate. That leaders are born but not made. Russian President Vladimir Putin character traits resonate very well with this theory or trait school of thought. Early in his life Putin was fascinated with spy movies which are known to espouse secrecy and he latter on went to join Russian secret service. This shows that Putin was very secretive man, one whom you will barely notice but you will be astonished if you happen to learn about who he is and what he does a sort of submarine way of life. This secretive character trait had international media scrambling to put up a profile of him when he ascended to the Presidency in Russia in the year 1999 on acting capacity despite holding other senior positions in Russian government before like Deputy Mayor and latter Prime minister. (Aliprandini, 2005)

Mr. Putin is also quite an adaptive person. This skill made sure he endeared himself to the Russians something which have enabled him to be elected into President’s Office three times. In 1999 before he was appointed acting President he became the Prime Minister of Russia.  Many Russians were not convinced by his capabilities to serve has a Prime minister because he had little political experiences and also his appearance and personality looked like he had boring personality. But that didn’t last long he quickly adapted and became darling of many Russians as his public ratings and popularity rose. He did this by pursuing war in Chechnya and using hard terms to criticize Chechen terrorists and blaming them on various bombings which happened in Moscow and other Russian towns. (Streissguth, 2005)

Trait Theory of Leadership

He is also motivating person and one who builds allies and co-operation. He became the first Russian head of state in free transfer of power in Russia’s eleven hundred years history. Putin new political party had put up a great show in the parliamentary elections against the communist party which had been in power for long time and had vast resources to campaign for its candidates. During that year Presidential elections there were other ten candidates vying for the presidency but Putin emerged the winner. This shows that he is a motivating person one can rally people behind a course that would eventually deliver victory. When he was sworn into office he made a number of foreign trips including to Poland to sign collaborative treaties in business and foreign relations. This further shows that as much as he is soft spoken and stone faced Putin is motivating and one who seeks to form collaborations with other nations in the world as well as within his own country Russia.

The character traits and skills above have contributed to him being the successful leader he is today. The reason for this is that without adaptability he wouldn’t have managed to endear himself to Russians and elected three times into office. The collaborations with other nations have also put Russia into firm global map thus attracting foreign investments as a result of treaties being signed between his country and other nations like China. (Streissguth, 2005)

Looking at the behavioral theories that would greatly explain the behavioral activities of President Putin we see that that he mostly practices autocratic leadership style especially on international matters such as fight against terrorism and rebels destabilizing legit authorities such as the Syrian case and Somali in the horn of Africa.

After September 11 bombing of world trade center in America, President Putin decided that Russia would join United States in the fight against terrorism but when US turned the fight against terrorism into ousting President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Putin cautioned US against this and rethought his support to the US. He never consulted with US on why they where ousting Saddam. This was autocratic leadership but justified this way because ousting a leadership that was in place in the name of fighting terrorism while the Al Qaeda which claimed responsibility of the attack was a different outfit from Iraqi’s government headed by Saddam Hussein was not adding up. And it’s not. (Boyle, Matthews, & Saklofske, 2008)

But in another case of autocratic leadership style President Putin appeared to be supporting Syrian President Assad which is historically oppressive regime by bombing Syrian rebels that were against the oppressive regime in 2015. He was justifying this by saying the Russian fighter jets were only bombing rebels that had caused a lot of sufferings to the civilians but the jets avoided bombing pro Assad militants in Syria putting into question the real motive of President Putin’s military aggression in Syria. In this case this behavior was not appropriate given that President Assad government is known oppressor of the civilians and it would have been better if President Putin would have not helped the oppressive regime to find footing and continue oppressing the civilians. He should have consulted with other nations through United Nations on best way of protecting civilians if he really wanted to protect the Syrian population. This was one weakness on his side given that he seems to like being open and fair to others regarding their rights. (Roxburgh, 2014)

Adaptive and Motivating Skills

We find some behaviors in President Putin which were ethical such as when brought changes in his first term of leadership in regard to right to own a private property in Russia, Freedom of speech and freedom of press. It is only ethical to let these fundamental rights to be enjoyed by the citizens because it grows democracy of a nation and encourages hard work and transparency in management of the public resources. (Boyle, Matthews, & Saklofske, 2008)

There are many instances where President Putin has influenced others effectively. In most of the case he espoused transactional type of leadership by signing international treaties with other nations of the world. The give and take type of leadership where one country is allowed to have its products sold in another country’s market and in return import certain products from the same country. He signed trade and foreign relation treaties with China and Poland among other nations. (Gessen, n.d.)

When he assumed Presidency in 1999 Putin began putting together an economic vision fro the country. Until then, the country was reeling unhealthy economy as a result of closed markets, international sanctions and tough taxation regime that did not favor business growth in Russia. Putin managed to influence creation of economic blueprint for the country by assembling a team of economist and other relevant personnel to come up with this important plan fro the country. In 2000 just about when he took over the country’s GDP rose from 259.7 Million USD to current GDP of over 2000 Million USD according to the World Bank sources. This is a positive influence to the country’s economy. This source of power is legitimate drawn from the mandate the President was given through votes.

President Putin uses power appropriately in most of the cases. By opening up Russian market to international investors such as Coca Colla he liberalized the market and made it responsive to the common market forces such as demand and supply. He had the powers to continue closing down the Russian market to international products because that is just a mater of policy. This is appropriate considering the current world economy where countries need to do more business with each other to create employment and for development.

President Putin’s success is related to his legitimate use of power. Many regimes before him Russia were experiencing turbulent times as the public ratings were low. However in Putin’s case he has high public approval ratings which at one time reached 86%. To put this into perspective in every 10 Russians picked randomly about 9 people are in approval of President Putin leadership. An evidence of his high approval rating or success as a popular person is his election into office three times. It is likely that if the Russian law allowed more than two consecutive Presidential terms for one person Putin would be currently in his fourth term of presidency.  President Putin has not been an authoritarian leader to Russians as much has he put a stone face towards other Nations especially on issues concerning weapons and military. Allowing Russians to enjoy most of their right, fighting corruption in the country’s oil sector and instituting reforms in country’s economy has made his government strong and has contributed to the success of his leadership. To quote him he says “We don't need a weakened government but a strong government that would take responsibility for the rights of the individual and care for the society as a whole”. What he meant here is that while it is imperative that government grand due rights to everyone it is also important that the same government is able to guarantee these rights to the people by being a strong government. That, as a Russian you are free to conduct business but do not engage in other acts such as corruption because then the government would have take action which may limit your rights because corruption weakens the country’s economy and by extension the government power to protect its people. (Thompson, 2000)

Behavioural Theories

We have number of lessons we can learn from President Vladimir Putin. He was person who will not shout out his plans to everyone who cared to listen. This probably the reason he ascended to Presidency with less vigor. Perhaps if he had announce that he wanted to became the President of the country  earlier he might have faced a lot of challenges from the political opponents who always plot how to down one another to win the elections. It tell us that while it is good to have ambition it is better if you can work on it quietly because then you’ll have more time to focus on the objectives rather than responding to destructions.

President Putin is also a believer in market liberalism. Russia being a strong communist country before the reigns of Putin was experiencing challenges in growing it economy. It is hard convincing companies to set up business in such an environment thus denying the country tax and employment it would have otherwise enjoyed. We learn that for good economic development it is important that countries build economic relation not every country just doing business internally and not opening its market for others to sale. Therefore countries in the world should continue making more deliberate efforts to boost trade relations amongst each other for continuous economic growth. (Myers, n.d.)

Being adaptive to the new surroundings is the best way to handle challenges that we face. When President Putin was appointed into office as the Russia Prime Minister the public did not have much confidence in him. But being an adaptive person made him overcome this challenge. He realized that he needed to be seen performing the duties of the Russia Prime Minister effectively for people to have trust in his abilities to execute the functions of the office. He quickly pursued the issue of militants from Chechnya bombing Moscow and other places in Russia thus endearing himself to the population who needed protection from the leadership of the country. 


In conclusion we note that President Putin has been able to portray a number of skills and charter traits such as being adaptive and one who can inspire motivation in others. We have also note that trait theory best describes traits that President Putin espouses such being a secretive person from his early life liking spy movies to become an agent with Russian Secret service after graduating from University. His behaviors is mostly autocratic and although he was justified in some case like when he opposed ousting of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq in some instance he showed weakness in promoting a world that respects human rights by supporting Syrian government which has historical issues of oppression.

We however draw more lessons to learn from him from being someone who does not expose too much of his plans to one who builds alliances with other nations in respect to trade and friendship ties.


Aliprandini, M. (2005). Vladimir Putin. [Toledo, Ohio]: Great Neck Publishing.

Berezovsky, B. (2004). Putin Restores Soviet-Style Power. New Perspectives Quarterly, 21(1), 36-37.

Boyle, G., Matthews, G., & Saklofske, D. (2008). The SAGE handbook of personality theory and  assessment (1st ed.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.

Davis, M. (2003). A History Lesson for President Putin?. Science, 300(5617), 249b-249.

Gessen, M. The man without a face.

Jonson, L. (2006). Vladimir Putin and Central Asia. London [u.a.]: Tauris. Myers, S. The new tsar.

Popova, M. (2017). Putin-Style “Rule of Law” & the Prospects for Change. Daedalus, 146(2), 64-75.

Rivera, D., & Rivera, S. (2009). Yeltsin, Putin, and Clinton: Presidential Leadership and Russian Democratization in Comparative Perspective. Perspectives On Politics, 7(03), 591.

Rose, R. Putin in Perspective. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Roxburgh, A. (2014). Strongman. London: I. B. Tauris.

Saini, D. (2015). Integral Leadership Style: A New Perspective. International Journal On Leadership, 3(2).

SAITO, M. (2008). Russia's Diplomacy under the Tandem Leadership of Putin and Medvedev. Russian And East European Studies, (37), 3-16.

Shields, C. (2007). Vladimir Putin. New York: Chelsea House.

Streissguth, T. (2005). Vladimir Putin. Minneapolis: Lerner.

Thompson, C. (2000). Current biography yearbook, 2000. New York: H.W. Wilson.

Willerton, J. (2007). The Putin Legacy: Russian-Style Democratization Confronts a "Failing  State". The Soviet And Post-Soviet Review, 34(1), 33-54.  

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