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The Three faces of Peter the Great - leadership lessons from the St. Petersburg's founder

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Peter the Great was arguably the most effective transformational leader in Russian history. His leadership agenda and style were strongly influenced by events in his early life, which produced the violent and visionary recurring themes of his "inner theater": the fear for his own safety and for Russia's future, the desire for revenge against his enemies, the need for total freedom of action, and the urge to change things for the better. Peter's "inner theater," conditions in Russia at the turn of the 17th century and situational factors produced three different leadership styles which were present throughout his life. Peter, as CEO of Russia Inc., demonstrated behaviors and competencies consistent with effective leadership in the modern world, while his darker side was characterized by a somewhat erratic leadership enforced through humiliation and horror. Though very opportunistic in his actions, the z remarkable for his ability to focus on the future and for his determination to realize his ambitions. His energy, his continuous personal education and development, his extraordinary capacity to lead by example, his speed and decisiveness, and his creation of a new culture all provide benchmarks for every change leader. However, his mistakes were as spectacular as his achievements: he failed to develop a critical mass of change agents within the different strata of society and he did not prepare a successor, thus placing the continued course of reform in jeopardy after his death.

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