Adolf Hitler was born on 20th April 1889, in the small Austrian town of Braunau. When the World War I began in 1914, Hitler volunteered to join the German army. He was given a medal for bravery but he never had the chance to climb any rank. In 1920, Hitler joined the National Socialist German Workers Party, which was known as the Nazis. Hitler became leader of the Nazi party by using his great speaking ability. In the 1930’s depression Germany had to pay an even greater debt, which was coming for the World War I. Hitler did not agreed to pay the debt and stated that the Jews and Communists were the cause for Germany’s defeat in World War I. He ensured that his party was going to get rid of Jews and Communists and that he was going to reunite the German speaking part of Europe. In 1932, the Nazis party got about 40% in the elections and became the strongest party in Germany, so in 1933 Hitler was appointed as the Chancellor of Germany. Under Hitler’s government, called the Third Reich, Hitler used widespread propaganda to brainwash and manipulate the nation into accepting his theory about creating the perfect Aryan race. In 1939 when the World War II began, Hitler invaded into Poland in order to unify as he promised all German-speaking peoples. By this time extermination camps were being established throughout Germany, Poland, and Russia. When Hitler’s plan did not worked out, he committed suicide on April 30,1945 .
2. Hitler's Leadership Traits
Hitler’s charisma was the key to the whole success of National-Socialism, which he was supporting and wanted to pass through the people of Germany. Hitler obtained this charismatic “altitude” partially because of his political skills and appeal.
The enabling factor, which was helping Hitler accomplishing almost every task he had, was his surprising clarity of vision. He had great ideas for Germany, to be bigger, better and “purer” than ever but also he was driven by his ego to take over the world, which was not as “pure” as he wanted Germany to be.
Hitler was revealing his passion through his speeches. He knew that by arriving late at the meeting point would develop tension among the audience and make them expecting him. When he was arriving at the stage he was standing attention and was waiting for every one to stop talking so as to have total silence and then to start. His moves and gestures were so forceful. He was walking from side to side at the stage and he was gesturing with his hands and the tone of his voice was loud and passionate. He was sweating; his face was getting white, his eyes were bulged and his voice was full of emotion. He was shouting about the unfairness’s and prejudices done to Germany and he was making his audience to be full of hate and jealousy. So by the end of his speech the crowd was in a condition near to madness and was willing to do everything Hitler was implying.
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Hitler’s determination and tremendous tenacity of purpose were two characteristics, which described him through his governance. He was a man who was striving for power and command. In order to have the power to be the commander of Germany and conquer the whole world, he managed to climb all the way up from being a simple soldier in the front line to become the chancellor of Germany and the commander of a enormous army. This fact indicates his great will and capability to meet his objectives and to achieve whatever he sought.
Despite the fact that Hitler was a great leader he had no sense of logical thinking. Hitler’s lack of ethical reasoning and social intelligence goes back to his low self-awareness, empathy and interest in others. He was unethical in thoughts and actions, taking advantage of situations, which his followers were in, in the most vicious approach to reach his goals. By manipulating his army to put Jews into extermination camps, is the biggest example not only of his immoral and wicked character but also his twisted mind.
Hitler was greatly self-assured of his own abilities. His rise in the hierarchy scale, his influential speeches, the fact that he managed to get Germany back from the edge of economic disaster, the battles which he was making in crucial places or in critical time periods are facts which are showing the huge levels of confidence that Hitler had.
In terms of Hitler’s management towards his secretaries and the people who worked with him closely, Hitler was, surprisingly enough, the more thoughtful boss. In fact, the fuehrer was adored by those who worked closest with him. His secretaries never became maddened by any kind of rudeness or lack of indulgence towards them. Hitler knew their names and birthdays, he was visiting them when they were ill, and they repaid him with lifetime loyalty, even after his crimes became generally known.
Hitler’s intelligence is indisputable. He managed to get Germany back from the edge of economic disaster and made them flourishing again, from a beaten country to a world power in just a few years. The fact that Hitler came from a front-line soldier to the fuehrer shows not only, as it was aforementioned, his great will and capability to meet his objectives but also his great mind sharpness since he was able to manipulate, even brainwashed a whole nation in order to do that.
3. Hitler's Leadership Style
3.1 Task oriented
Hitler was a high task oriented leader. He had clear vision and knowledge of the path for execute his strategy so he is the one who directed his people in an attempt to execute his vision. He wanted to monitor everything and retain control of every task, which was about to be executed. He never blamed himself for his failure but the other which in his case was Germany as a whole.
3.2 Relationship oriented
In terms of Hitler’s relationship orientation we can mention that he had really good interpersonal relations with those who worked closest with him. He knew personal details for them, fact which shows that he was interested in them and in their personal psychological health. He was visiting them when they were ill fact, which shows that he was interested about their physical health.
So we can say that Hitler had good leader-member relations, his task orientation was high, and finally, his position power is strong, since he had all the authorities of the country. Consequently, Adolf Hitler appears to be a Task-Oriented Leader.
“Transformational leadership is a type of leadership style that leads to positive changes in those who follow. Transformational leaders are generally energetic, enthusiastic and passionate. Not only are these leaders concerned and involved in the process; they are also focused on helping every member of the group succeed as well”.
Transformational leaders engage in intellectual stimulation and inspirational motivation. As far as intellectual stimulation is concerned, Hitler was visionary wanted for Germany to be the first power and for him to conquer the world. As far as inspirational motivation is concerned, Hitler strived to be different in order to become the “great” world leader and had the proper for him plans and tactics on how to achieve his goals.
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In order to have their country standing again to their feet Hitler appealed to the values and ethics of the German people. Despite the fact that the need for resurrection in Germany’s economy was obvious we can say that Hitler instead of fulfilling his follower’s higher mental needs and aspirations he was fulfilling his own needs. He was a dominant, magnetic leader that would possibly fit the characterization of a pseudo-transformational leader, because a leader satisfy’s the needs of his followers and their well being but Hitler did not do that.
4. Hitler's Strategy
Adolf Hitler was a very good strategist. The main point of Hitler’s strategy was the accumulation of Lebensraum (“Living space”) for the Germanic race . Citing the Treaty of Versailles suffocating indemnities and exploiting the public nervousness of the 1930s economic lack of money, he declared that the German borders were too restricted to secure their suitable position in the geo-political world relations, and that he wanted regions similar to the (British and French) colonies to secure enough economic resources to assure Germany’s position as a major power .
The planned strategy to realize these goals was a series of quite short wars, to defeat one opponent at a time, and thus securing more land step by step. These wars were to be intertwined with periods of peace when the German army could re-supply and amass force for the next war. As the time was passing by his strategy was based on paranoia and cruel logic. Despite that, his inland territory remained very strong and indisputable. Afterwards, he ordered a constant bombing in Britain despite the strategic costs and failures. In the final stages of the war, his actions and orders were getting more and more mad rather than any attempt to have a rational strategy.
5. Authentic Leadership?
In my opinion Adolf Hitler was not an authentic leader. That is because, firstly, he promised he would help revive Germany; however, he did not say that he would take over most of Europe doing so. Secondly, in order to be authentic one must has self-awareness, to know not only his strengthens but also his weaknesses, an ability that he lacked. And thirdly, the most of the times, his feeling for conquering Europe, be the winner and the “Fuehrer” was overshadowing his rational thinking, which at the end brought the fall of his empire.
6. Hitler's Leadership Level:
“Kouzes and Pousner believe that effective leaders engage in five practices; model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart (1995). These practices and other leadership concepts provide a means of shaping a model leader. Understanding that effective leaders will also hold individual leadership traits, defining the term in a general sense is a challenge. For the purpose of our chapter, we will define effective leadership as “the art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for shared aspirations” (Kouzes & Posner, 1995, p. 30)”.
In my opinion, Hitler, is considered to be a level four, Effective leader, as he was able to maintain a helicopter view just before the end of the war. He was setting the directions and he was effectiveness and inspiration oriented. He was developing a high performance culture so as his army to be able to have the desired results.
Although Hitler did had the professional will, a person who wants to conquer is not even close to personal humility, so he could never be at level five, Executive.
7. Action Logic
Adolf Hitler follows the strategist action logic. In their analysis of action logics, Rooke and Torbert (2005) identify two characteristics of the strategist action logic. Firstly, strategists generate organizational and personal transformations and secondly, they exercise the power of mutual inquiry, alertness and vulnerability for both the short and long term. Additionally, a strategist is considered to be very effective as a transformational leader that is a pseudo-transformational leader in this case.
Accordingly, Hitler focuses on building a long-term strategy that is first to revive Germany from its economic ruins and then to have the proper battle in order to have under his command all the Europe. Moreover, a large percentage of his attention lies on giving inspiring speeches to his people in order to keep them in tense and under his mental control. Another strength of Hitler’s is his ability to climbing through the scales of hierarchy in his personal life, which in turn he transferred it to its leadership and managed to have Germany a major power in few years.
Closing, in my opinion, we conclude that there is no alignment between Hitler’s leadership style and the strategic needs of Germany. He exclusively focused on his own selfish goals for taking whole Europe under his control, instead of the needs of his people. He took things too personally overshadowing his rational thinking so he had intense rivalry with the rest of the world. Winning was so important for him that he would do anything to achieve it. These aspects of his character led him into madness and paranoia and at the end was the factor that took him down to the distraction.
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