Catherine The Great: Autocratic Leadership Style

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Catherine the Great adopted an ‘Autocratic leadership style’. When she ascended to her throne, she possessed all control over Russia and every decision regarding Russia had to be approved directly by her. She reinforced her great authority through the power and consistent discipline. She created new laws that reflected society’s needs and made sure that everyone strictly adhered to those rules.

Although she held this Authoritarian style she was always open to new theories and ideas and she openly welcomed freedom of speech to all individuals as long as it didn’t directly criticize her ruling.

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This certain leadership style was extremely effective within Russia during that era as the country displaced very little unity and many citizens were limited in their capabilities.

Catherine herself displaced outstanding intellect, creativity, and vision and did incorporate factors of a Transformational leadership role as not only did she inspire her people but encouraged the citizens to rethink preconceived ideas.

Furthermore, the population was too high to have everyone in Russia to participate in governing the country, so it was necessary for one individual to hold all authority and to be held at a high decision-making capacity.

Catherine was also successful as an authoritarian Empress because she made the needs of her subjects her primary concern and dedicated her life to serving her subjects.

Roles & Responsibilities

Catherine had a responsibility and duty to her people and had an obligation to put their needs before her own. She used her leadership status as a way to rebuild Russia and did so with tremendous results.

She ruled Russia with an autocratic style but had no desire to be a cruel leader. In all her time studying and reading she began to understand new concepts such as political philosophy and science.

During this era, Russia was not well known for being educated or cultured and the population was only a few steps above barbarians.

So, Catherine had a responsibility to modernize Russia. Her achievements played a key role in the development of Russia as a modern state not only in a political sense but also in a cultural sense.

Catherine sought to change the world’s opinion of Russia and set about a plan to become known as a major player on the national stage.

Catherine was not a Ruler like Peter I, who forced his policies on a reluctant society without valuing the human opinion. She paid attention to public opinion; and once said ‘ You philosophers are lucky men. You write on paper and paper is patient. Unfortunate Empress that I am, I write on the susceptible skins of living beings.

Evaluate the effectiveness of this leader- Examples

Catherine was an effective leader as she made great strides in the protection of her citizens, but she also made important strides for Women in Russia. Her modern thinking helped establish the first institutions for female education in Russia, increased numerous numbers of co-ed public and private schools, founded many boarding schools and funded hospitals.

She ultimately rebuilt Russia after her late husband lost control. In 1764 she passed a decree which established the ‘ Smolny Institute which was a financed higher educational institution for women in Russia, being known as the institute for girls of the nobility, which allowed the women in Russia to finally be educated.

Catherine was devoted to the arts and sponsored many cultural projects.

Introduced sciences, philosophy, ethics, history, and international law into the School curriculum rather than just military learning- expanding the thinking of her people. In St. Petersburg, she had a theatre built for opera and ballet performances, Encouraging creativity amongst the public.

Catherine had catapulted Russia into the world as a major world empire. Catherine made many strides for women’s education in Russia and also showed how women could do great things in positions of power. Catherine the great was an exceptional and effective leader as she sought to modernizes her country through education and equality. Her leadership decisions are still carried on to this day and other counties had adopted some of her ideas as a result of her effective leadership roles- such as the concept of primary and high school which she made as a way to conjure more effective learning.

Adaptability & Flexibility

Catherine demonstrated adaptability and flexibility when interpreting the needs of her people, she knew that the citizens of Russia were unhappy and that a change needed to be made. She adapted to the needs of the people by single handily rebuilding the Russian monarch. But her most revolutionary and flexible effort while leading her country was a document called the ‘Nazak’. Catherine tried to take more efforts towards social and political reforms and in so creating the ‘Nazak’ which was a document explaining how Russia’s legal system should run. In the document, it outlawed all forms of torture and capital punishment and declared every man equal. This directly impacted a group’s wellbeing as It was the first time that Russians from across the empire had been able to express their thoughts about the country’s needs and problems. 


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