Good leader, bad reputation

31 January 2011

Thorbjørn Jagland – comic figure or power figure? Does he possess the qualities to make a good leader or do the media give an accurate picture of him?

In his master's thesis, BI student Ole A Hagen examined the conditions surrounding Jagland’s leadership to see whether he really was as bad a leader as his reputation would have him to be.

“Leadership as a subject is interesting to apply to Thorbjørn Jagland; in terms of reputation, he is not perceived as a (good) leader. But once we begin to consider the art of statesmanship, great ideas and character-forming, it turns out that he actually has many good leadership qualities, such as the desire for power and position, the ability to overcome adversity and to be visionary and courageous, etc," says Hagen.

Impressive list of achievements

According to Hagen, all this is overshadowed by the reputation/media image that has been built up around him, which often alludes to his (lack of) rhetorical skills. If you take a look at his CV, which boasts titles such as Foreign Minister, Prime Minster, President of the Storting and General Secretary of the European Council, there is hardly anyone else to match him in Norway.

Basing his study on central leadership theories, Hagen's conclusion is that Jagland does indeed possess power, he has great ideas and he acts as a statesman, discussing major international issues in his daily dealings with leaders of state from all over the world.

Ole A Hagen was also presented with the award for Best Master's Student at BI during his graduation ceremony in the Gamle Logen on 5 November.

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