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As one of the most well-known female leader, Margaret Thatcher certainly has her some distinct leadership styles. Blema S. Steinberg describes Thatcher as “the Dominant”, with “the assertive and strong-willed personality”. These personality characteristics affect her leadership style is high on ideology and degree of involvement, but most importantly, she has a dominating style of involvement, which makes her an autocratic leader.
Autocratic leadership is also called authoritarian leadership. This kind of leader has the nature to strive for power and authority, taking charge of everything and having full control over decision making.
Thatcher was a classic example of an autocratic leader, she performs her politics in terms of the self versus other options and structure. She had her ideology, the Thatcherism, which covered virtually all areas, including privatization, tax cuts, promotion of homeownership, and free-market economics. Her ideology governed her policies. Being a sole decision-maker, Margaret Thatcher had the confidence in her priorities and policies and expected others would follow.
Same as most successful leaders, Thatcher is visionary. She broke customary political ideas with her politics, “Thatcherism” and used her strong vision, value, and ability to save the Great British from post-war depression. She showed a clear path for her plan of the UK and control to reach it.
As mentioned above, Thatcherism is the legacy Ms. Thatcher left and also one of the most controversial subjects about Thatcher. Thatcherism is considered as a neo libertarian ideology. Eric J. Evans characterizes Thatcherism as a fusion of neoliberal economic policymaking and authoritarian state politics in matters of the nation, the military, law and order, crime and the police. Thatcher took over the power and as the Prime Minister, she often circumventing traditional cabinet structures (such as cabinet committees). This gave her more freedom to carry out her policies, as she knew precisely what she wanted and how to achieve it. She had confidence in everything she did. However, her greatest strength was also her greatest weakness. Just like what her secretary said, ‘They could go out and confront people, lay down the law, ‘ but they also ‘bully a bit”. Her style of leadership caused many people’s disapproval, and the debate about Thatcherism never stopped.
The debate about Thatcherism was mostly because her policies hurt the benefit of the ordinary working-class, she developed the whole country’s economy by sacrificing the workers. Also, her dominate and self-conscious personality isolates herself in her whole world and refusing others’ constructive suggestions. People respected her as she was capable of governing the country and did save the British from decline. Yet her personality and leadership styles made people hard to love her and work with her.
No doubt that Thatcher was a good leader in her early years in office, but after solving the major economic crisis the UK was facing, the country was stable and she did not change a little bit. She was always tough, demanding and autocratic, which did not keep up with the time.
If she realized the circumstance, and she tried to govern the country with a milder way, things might be difference.
In 1979 during the election, when Thatcher was informed the bad opinion poll, she simply said: ‘I took no notice of polls when we were ahead, and I shall take no notice of them now.’ This shows her amazing stoicism quality. However, It also showed her indifference to public attitudes, which led to the downfall of her political career. She might contributed more if she found a balance between national policy and their interests.
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