From 1991 to 1999 Boris Yeltsin presided over the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, transition to a market economy, and establishment of a representative democracy.
During his tenure he experienced constitutional crisis, armed uprising, and wild economic instability. For a time, he survived multiple impeachment attempts, charges of corruption, and was roundly condemned for his controversial actions in office.
Ultimately, he was forced from the presidency. At the time of his resignation, his approval rating was reportedly 2%.
He said these words in a televised 1993 speech:
“You can build a throne with bayonets, but can’t sit on it for long.” - Boris Yeltsin Click To Tweet
Yeltsin was not actually the first with this idea, but is probably the best known for saying it. Certainly, he serves as a good recent example of the dangers of leading through force. Besides mentioning his discomfort just a few years into office, his heart disease, chronic alcoholism, and erratic behavior add further testimony to the dangers of leading with sharp implements.
Whether business leader or statesman, power gained through force may lead to the throne, but any time spent on it is likely to be uncomfortable and short.
If we hope to lead well, the less bayonet, the easier the repose.
Image Credit: Yeltsin http://www.kremlin.ru/events/photos/2007/04/125066.shtml; background removed