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Leadership Styles in Different Nations

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 1 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
Monarchy Leadership Dictatorship

Leadership in most countries is presented in the form of “government” – that is, an organisation which has the governing authority or ruling power over the society, usually in the form a political unit. These governments have the power to make laws, to issue administrative decisions and to adjudicate disputes – as well as having the right to use force to ensure the peace of communal life. Countries or states, especially if they exceed a certain size, will often have different layers or levels of government, such as national, regional and local.

The different types of government in different countries represent the different types of leadership that are practised – here are some of the most common forms:


Many consider this to be the ideal form of government leadership where the population as a whole holds the ultimate power and the “leaders” are essentially representatives of the general population, chosen by the people themselves through a democratic process under a free electoral system.

There is debate in political theory over the accepted definition of democracy – however, all agree that democracy in any form includes 2 key concepts: that all members of the society have equal access to power and that all members enjoy universally-recognised freedoms and liberties. Of course, within the different varieties of democracies, some provide better representation of the peoples and more freedoms for the citizens than others.

Although democracy is generally positioned as promoting equality, because it often operates under “majority rule” – there is a danger that the rights of a minority might be abused by the “tyranny of the majority”. Thus, it is essential to have competitive elections, which are fair both substantively and procedurally. It is also essential to have freedom of political expression, freedom of press and freedom of speech, so that citizens can remain informed and able to vote in their personal interests.


The radical opposite of a democracy, a dictatorship involves rule by one individual who has full power over the nation and is neither accountable nor subject to law, nor restricted by constitutions or other social and political factors within the state. In other words, a leader in this type of government has the power to govern without the consent of the people being governed - this makes it the complete opposite of democracy: government whose power comes from the people.


Although monarchy also involves rule by one person, in theory, it is different from a dictatorship because in a monarchy, a single person governs by fixed and established laws, whereas in a dictatorship, the “tryant” governs by his own will and whim, however it may affect the people. Obviously, in practice, unfortunately, there are those in a monarchy who abuse their power and therefore present a form of government not unlike a dictatorship in practice.

Note also that there are also many instances of monarchy where holding unlimited political power in the state is not the defining characteristic – for example, the United Kingdom and Thailand both have “constitutional monarchies”.

The other trait which sets a monarchy apart is that the individual who holds the supreme power is head of state for life or until abdication. Another common trait is hereditary rule, although it is also possible to have an “elective monarchy”, such as the Pope, the Sovereign of the Vatican City, who is elected by the College of Cardinals. During ancient and medieval times, monarchies were probably the most common form of government; in the present day, about 44 nations in the world have monarchs as the head of state.

Communist State

This is a form of government where the ruling power rests with a one-party system, where the Communist Party is guaranteed a dominant role in the government, despite the possible presence of several legal political parties. This may sound similar to other one-party systems, except that in a Communist State, the ruling party completely follows Marxism-Leninism as their guiding ideology.

Different Communist States will claim that their actions follow the wishes of different majorities of the population – for example, for the Marxist-Leninists, it is the wishes of the industrial working class; for Maoists, it is the wishes of the peasantry.

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this is great. I can teach it to my students at Harvard
The Doctor - 1-Nov-17 @ 5:39 PM
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