Leadership in Ukraine from East to West

Feb 19

Many of my thoughts on leadership revolve around the congruence of values between leader and follower. I argued that Leadership Erosion is eating away at majorities and consensus with the end being irreconcilable segmentation. When common values cannot be established there is little hope of common objectives on social and political issues. One such case today is found in Ukraine.

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Ukraine is a country ideally situated to observe the clash of values that erodes the effectiveness and reach of leadership. One the east is Russia, a reluctant adopter of western capitalism and liberal thought. On the west is Europe, forward thinking, capitalistic and largely democratic. Within the Ukraine, there are people who align with both value systems.

Recent fighting brought this division to the forefront. President Viktor Yanukovych has received pressure as a result of his alignment with Russia on financial and energy resource issues. The opposition argues that alignment with the European Union is more desirable. At the heart of the disagreement is a conflict of values which some in the media are describing as a conflict between Obama and Putin.

While this has less to do with the actual western or eastern leaders, it does trace back to what those leaders stand for. If Yanukovych, or any other leader, hopes to unite, inspire and transform the Ukrainian people, the first step must be a unification of values; an agreement on what is worth living and dying for. Until there is greater congruence of values, it’s unlikely any leader will succeed in uniting the people and putting Ukraine back on solid, independent footing.

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