Amos, Howard (2012), ‘Vladimir Putin leads endangered cranes on migration route in hang glider’, The Guardian, September 6, available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/sep/06/vladimir-putin-cranes-hang-glider.
Bass Bernard M. & Steidlmeier Paul , '‘Ethics, character, and authentic transformational leadership behavior’ ' (1999 ) 10 (2 ) Leadership Quarterly : 181 -217.
Boje David M. & Rhodes Carl , '‘The virtual leader construct: the mass mediatization and simulation of transformational leadership’ ' (2005 ) 1 (4 ) Leadership : 407 -428.
Carlin, John (2004), ‘All hail Berlusconi’, The Guardian, January 18, available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jan/18/italy.features.
Ciulla Joanne B. , '‘Ethics and effectiveness: the nature of good leadership’ ', in David D. Day & John Antonakis (eds), The Nature of Leadership , (Sage , Los Angeles, CA 2012 ) 508 -540.
De Maistre Joseph-Marie , Albert Blanc (ed), Correspondance Diplomatique de Joseph de Maistre, 1811–1817 , (Michel Lévy frères libraires éditeurs , Paris 1860 ) available at: https://archive.org/stream/correspondancedi02maisuoft#page/196/mode/2up..
Derrida Jacques Bennington Geoffrey , Michel Lisse, Marie-Louise Mallet & Ginette Michaud (eds), The Beast and the Sovereign , (University of Chicago Press, Chicago 2011 ).
De Vries Reinout E., Roe Robert A. & Taillieu Tharsi C.B. , '‘Need for leadership as a moderator of the relationships between leadership and individual outcomes’ ' (2002 ) 13 (2 ) Leadership Quarterly : 121 -137.
Eckel, Mike (2007), ‘Photos of bare-chested Putin create stir’, The Washington Post, August 22, available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/22/AR2007082201284_pf.html.
Economist, The (2011), ‘The man who screwed an entire country’, June 9, available at: http://www.economist.com/node/18805327/.
Fininvest website (2010), Fininvest, available at: http://www.fininvest.it/en/holding/profile.
Fisher Kelly & Robbins Christine Reiser , '‘Embodied leadership: moving from leader competencies to leaderful practices’ ' (2015 ) 11 (3 ) Leadership : 281 -299 doi: 10.1177/1742715014522680.
Gabriel Yiannis , '‘Meeting God: when organizational members come face to face with the supreme leader’ ' (1997 ) 50 (4 ) Human Relations : 315 -342.
Glendinning, Lee (2008), ‘Putin shoots a tiger as Europe grapples with Russian aggression’, The Guardian, September 1, available at: http://www.theguardian.com/news/blog/2008/sep/01/russia.
Greenleaf Robert K. , Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness , (Paulist Press, New York 1977 ).
Guardian, The (2007), ‘Vladimir Putin goes fishing’, August 14, available at: http://www.theguardian.com/news/gallery/2007/aug/14/russia.internationalnews?picture=330565632.
Guriev Sergei & Tsyvinski Aleh , '‘Challenges facing the Russian economy after the crisis’ ', in Anders Åslund, Sergei Guriev & Andrew Kuchins (eds), Russia after the Global Economic Crisis , (Peterson Institute for International Economics , Washington, DC 2010 ) 9 -38.
Hatch Mary J., Kostera Monika & Koźmiński Andrzej K. , The Three Faces of Leadership: Manager, Artist, Priest , (Blackwell Publishing, Bodmin, UK 2005 ).
Heidegger Martin Lovitt William , '‘The world of Nietzsche: “God is dead”’ ', in The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays , (Garland Publishing , New York and London 1977 ) 53 -112.
Hooper, John (2010), ‘Silvio Berlusconi ally had no mafia links after 1992, court rules’, The Guardian, June 29, available at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jun/29/silvio-berlusconi-ally-verdict-mafia.
Kantorowicz Ernst , The King's Two Bodies: A Study in Mediaeval Political Theology , (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ 1957 ).
Kets de Vries,Manfred F.R. (1987), ‘Prisoners of leadership’, Fontainebleau, France: The European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD).
Kuronen Tuomas & Virtaharju Jouni , '‘The fishing president: ritual in constructing leadership mythology’ ' (2015 ) 11 (2 ) Leadership : 186 -212 doi: 10.1177/1742715013515697.
Ladkin Donna , Rethinking Leadership: A New Look at Old Leadership Questions , (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA 2011 ).
Linstead Stephen & Thanem Torkild , '‘Multiplicity, virtuality and organization: the contribution of Gilles Deleuze’ ' (2007 ) 28 (10 ) Organization Studies : 1483 -1501.
Ludwig Dean C. & Longenecker Clinton O. , '‘The Bathsheba Syndrome: the ethical failure of successful leaders’ ' (1993 ) 12 (4 ) Journal of Business Ethics : 265 -273.
Mauss Marcel , '‘Techniques of the body’ ', in Nathan Schlanger (ed), Techniques, Technology and Civilization , (Berghahn Books , New York 1935  ) 77 -96.
Nietzsche Friedrich Hollingdale Reginald J. , Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One , (Penguin Classics, Harmondsworth, UK and New York 1961 ).
Peretz, Evgenia (2011), ‘La dolce viagra’, Vanity Fair, July, available at: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2011/07/silvio-berlusconi-201107.
Putin Vladimir, Gevorkyan Nataliya, Timakova Natalya & Koleshnikov Andrei Fitzpatrick Catherine , First Person , (PublicAffairs, New York 2000 ).
Redekop Benjamin W. , '‘Embodying the story: Theodore Roosevelt's conservation leadership’ ' (2016 ) 12 (2 ) Leadership : 159 -185 doi: 10.1177/1742715014546875..
Shin Michael E. & Agnew John A. , Berlusconi's Italy: Mapping Contemporary Italian Politics , (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, PA 2008 ).
Smith, Daniel and John Protevi (2015), ‘Gilles Deleuze’, in Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Winter 2015 edn, available at: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2015/entries/deleuze/.
Spoelstra Sverre & Bos René ten , '‘Leadership’ ', in Mollie Painter-Morland & René ten Bos (eds), Business Ethics and Continental Philosophy , (Cambridge University Press , Cambridge, UK and New York 2011 ) 181 -198.
Treisman Daniel , '‘Presidential popularity in a hybrid regime: Russia under Yeltsin and Putin’ ' (2011 ) 55 (3 ) American Journal of Political Science : 590 -609.
‘Trials and Allegations Involving Silvio Berlusconi’ (2015), Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Trials_and_allegations_involving_Silvio_Berlusconi&oldid=675379755.
Tsygankov Andrei P. , '‘Assessing cultural and regime-based explanations of Russia's foreign policy: “authoritarian at heart and expansionist by habit”?’ ' (2012 ) 64 (4 ) Europe-Asia Studies : 695 -713.
Weiskopf Richard & Willmott Hugh , '‘Ethics as critical practice: the “Pentagon Papers”, deciding responsibly, truth-telling, and the unsettling of organizational morality’ ' (2013 ) 34 (4 ) Organization Studies : 469 -493.
Whitefield S. , '‘Putin's popularity and its implications for democracy in Russia’ ', in Alex Pravda (ed), Leading Russia: Putin in Perspective , (Oxford University Press , Oxford 2005 ) 139 -160.
Ultimately, we are intrigued by the foundational questions of humanity; is leadership one of the ‘human universals’, among music, sport, sex, language and intoxication?
This strand of meta-ethical discussion is not elaborated further in this paper. Suffice it to say that leaders are beasts vis-à-vis the society they are supposed to lead.
Our aim is to highlight the role of desire as a background to the phenomena relating to the superficiality of appearance. Moreover, by discussing leaders that are largely deemed unethical, we show the ‘other’ side of leadership, which is often – but not always – omitted from the dominant leadership discourse. Leadership theorists prefer to focus on ‘good’ leadership. This leads to the canonisation of certain leadership types, styles and individuals. By describing the ‘bad guys’, we shed light on a significant aspect of the totality of the phenomenon of leadership.
Here, we use ‘hermeneutic’ instead of ‘logic’ or any other term. This is due to our understanding of how the nature of leadership as a social phenomenon requires skills and adaptations of social interpretation or social literacy – in other words, abilities to understand the social phenomenon of leading and following. Thus, it is more fruitful to understand the social as a text that requires hermeneutic interpretation rather than an object of logical analysis.
In this regard, let us consider the military context for a moment. It is customary today to talk about the justification for war, the rules of conduct and legal processes in international war crime tribunals. All in spite of the fact that most people view taking a human life as unethical in the first place! Shifting viewpoints may accommodate this view: as long as violence is meant to secure or further the interests of the common good of society or identity (Sen 2006), it automatically becomes more legitimate.
We spent considerable time reflecting on this matter, with no findings other than it seems that leaders are not only beyond the ethical register, but also the mere questioning or articulation of the boundaries of leadership is met with silence, indicating a further ‘beyondness’ concerning the matter. How this is distinct from a conventional taboo remains an open question.
Whether leadership is immanent or transcendental remains unanswered. It should be noted that although it does not ‘exist’ in the strict realist sense of the word, suffice it to say for our purposes that it is an object of pursuit.