When analyzing something as complex as reputation, we must take into account multiple factors involved in the construction of this perception. For example, if we are talking about individuals or organizations, it is important that their actions are consistent with their discourse and values. It is also important that these actions are carried out in a sustained manner over time. Reputation is a long-distance race, so getting it right just once will not be enough.
If we look at political leaders, one might think that a logical focus to approaching reputation might be in terms of ideological orientation. However, again, we see that it is somewhat more complicated than that. It is not a question of whether left-wing leaders have better or worse reputation than right-wing leaders. We will be much more precise if the question we ask ourselves is what qualities are most valued in left and right-wing leaders. And that is what we have done (Political Leader Reputation Study, Thinking Heads).
Priorities according to ideological orientation
The first and most important thing is to deconstruct reputation in its emotional and rational variables, so that once these have been identified, we can calibrate the expectations of citizens in this regard. In doing so, we discovered that these perceptions are grouped around four dimensions that act as levers of reputation: leadership, competence, integrity and humanity.
We already have the four main axes on which this perception of political leaders is built. These four axes are the same for all, but does the weighting of these axes vary according to the ideological tendency of the leader? The answer is yes. For left-wing leaders, integrity and competence are more relevant, while leadership and humanity gain weight when evaluating right-wing leaders
In other words, these are the areas that leaders must work on if they want to improve their reputation, even more so when they are the ones that receive the worst evaluation, and therefore, the ones that require the most demand and effort from the public. In this regard, citizens’ perceptions vary when they perceive positive or negative behavior in these areas.
Each of these axes, in turn, is broken down into various attributes such as reliability, sincerity, honesty or management capacity, among others. What differences do we find when assessing these qualities? If we apply the ideological criterion, we observe that right-wing leaders score better in qualities such as management capacity or their ability to generate support. On the other hand, those on the left score better in their ability to reach consensus or in their interest in people’s problems.
After this review of the data, we see how there are numerous areas to which political leaders can devote their efforts to be better valued by society. In addition, this differentiation between the political spectrum allows us to refine different behaviors depending on our country’s ideological and parliamentary diversity.
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