Why leaders fall

The pitfalls of populist leadership

We tend to think that leadership is all about the leader, and the qualities that separate them from their followers. But more recently there is a recognition that leadership is better understood when thinking about what connects leaders with their followers. This connection, and its deterioration, is what best explains the end of Boris Johnson’s political career, argue Stephen Reicher and Alex Haslam.


What on earth just happened? Why, did the electorate and then Tory MPs and finally his own Cabinet turn on the Prime Minister and force him out? It’s not as if the rule-breaking and lies and lack of integrity were anything new. They have been known for years. The public and the politicians voted for him despite (and, as I shall argue below) possibly because of them. The expressions of horror at the Prime Minister’s misdemeanours in MPs and Ministers resignation letters were about as convincing as Captain Renault’s outrage at discovering illegal

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