Elizabeth I’s rule is one of the most fondly remembered in English history, which can be attributed to her distinct leadership style. Although she never expected to occupy the throne, it eventually became hers, forcing the young queen to adapt. Her reign was mostly characterized by successes, proving that Elizabeth’s leadership style was solid yet not without flaws, including indecisiveness. This paper will highlight its positive and negative features while providing some examples of how they manifested.
Elizabeth’s leadership style had several strengths that allowed the Elizabethan era to become widely celebrated. First of all, she valued knowledge and could speak several languages, participating in diplomatic negotiations herself and ensuring that nothing missed her attention (Collinson & Collinson, 2017). Elizabeth was moderate, which greatly contrasted Henry VIII and Mary I, and avoided making radical steps, which could explain the period’s stability (Collinson & Collinson, 2017). The queen was also empathetic, which made a non-belligerent relationship with France possible when she expressed grief regarding Henry II’s death and earned the population’s love (Paranque, 2019). Thus, the appreciation of knowledge, being moderate, and empathy are some of the positive traits of Elizabeth’s leadership, facilitating her reign.
Elizabeth’s leadership style also had such negative attributes as indecisiveness, overreliance on others, and stubbornness. The first point was connected with the queen’s initial status as a bastard and the unstable religious situation, which was not entirely resolved during her reign. The treatment of Mary, Queen of Scots, also revealed Elizabeth’s insecurity (Castor, 2018). Upon ascending the throne, the queen proved to be less authoritarian by establishing a council of trusted people, which could have restrained her ambitions (Castor, 2018). Lastly, Elizabeth was stubborn, which is especially evident in refusing to marry and produce an heir, leading to uncertainty regarding the country’s future (Castor, 2018). Thus, the queen’s leadership had some negative traits, although they could have contributed to the era’s stability.
Overall, Elizabeth was a competent leader who mostly avoided major conflicts and inspired a cultural bloom in her country. The queen’s leadership style was fueled by knowledge, moderate, and emphatic, making the era relatively stable and peaceful. On the other hand, she exhibited indecisiveness, overreliance on the council, and stubbornness, which both hindered and helped her ambitions. Ultimately, Elizabeth is remembered fondly despite the negative attributes, which still somehow benefited the queen.
Castor, H. (2018). Elizabeth I: A study in insecurity. Penguin Random House.
Collinson, M., & Collinson, D. (2017). Elizabeth I. In G. R. Goethals & C. L. Hoyt (Eds.), Women in leadership: History, theories, and case studies (pp. 184-189). Berkshire Publishing Group.
Paranque, E. (2019). Elizabeth I of England through Valois eyes: Power, representation, and diplomacy in the reign of the Queen, 1558–1588. Palgrave Macmillan.