Adolf Hitler was born in April, 1889 to a father who worked in the Austrian government (Jonathan, 650). He was the fourth born in a family of six siblings. Hitler went to a Catholic School where he grew very active and joined the church choir, which even influenced him to consider becoming a priest. While his father wanted his son to join a technical school, Hitler had a passion for arts which eventually led to increased arguments between the young Adolf and his father (John, 1997). The rebellion from the youngster grew so strong that he became a pro-Germany since his father worked for the government of Austria. His passion for arts was however diminished when he was rejected to join an arts school at an age of 28. The school in Vienna made him detest Semitic people, and this would later play a part in the Holocaust which he engineered (Jonathan, 650).
The frustrations were then added up when he was rejected form the school of architecture. This led him to further entry into German movements where he was accorded accolades for his oratory skills and bravery. However, he never got promotions because his seniors believed he did not have any leadership skills. During the World War I, he had become a patriotic German. It was during the war that he rose to power starting from being a spy for the German worker’s party (DAP) where he was later hired as a member of the party due to his ability to speak to masses of people. He would later become the full controller of the it as the leaders could not find a way to reach many people without his presence (John, 1997). In 1921, he became the “Führer” of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Richard, 1989). His greed for power led to his attempted coup, but he was stopped and ran away, where he attempted to commit suicide (Joy, 1995). When arrested, he was taken to a public court where he used his oratory skills to win the people’s sympathy. He escaped with a short jail term. During his term, he realized that the only way to clinch power was through being elected (John, 1997).
Hitler took advantage of the Great Depression and aroused the people’s emotions to realize that they had been tricked and that they were unfairly paying for the deeds of other people (Richard, 1989). He led his people to believe that they were paying the cost of destruction of the World War I, and his political crusades led to his appointment in the government in 1933 (Richard, 1989). He used this position to suppress other political parties and won himself the hearts of the people, thus unlimited rights. He used his position and oratory skills to convince the people that he was the only person who could save them from economic (Joy, 1995). depressions, the treaty of Versailles, communism and many more issues (Jonathan, 630). The large population never doubted him, because he used emotional and psychological issues rather than addressing the real issues that faced the nation. He led Germany into Poland invasion, which eventually led to the Second World War (Roderick, 1997).
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Hitler’s leadership was based on infuriation of the emotions of the people and not on addressing the challenges that faced them (John, 1997). He was successful in ensuring that people believed in him and that he was the only one who could solve all their problems. This would eventually lead to the belief that the Germans were the best race in the world and everyone else was supposed to be placed second (Roderick, 1997).
Hitler’s leadership skills were pyramid-like, where he would be the peak (Richard, 1989). He never believed in juniors questioning their seniors, which led to delegation of duties from the top. All his communication was made verbally to ensure that there was no evidence in case a discrepancy was detected in the line of command (Joy, 1995). In any case, the blame would go to the subordinate. Through the pyramid form of leadership, Hitler would send contradictory instructions among the subordinates to ensure that they started fighting for power and positions. Eventually, the strongest among the warring people would take over the job. This trick led to mistrust among the people who worked under him, and a wave of competition and misunderstandings. Therefore, with the crumbled power among the subordinates, only one man would keep all power Hitler himself.
He used the church where it suited him and proclaimed that as a Christian, he would fight for the people and would never allow himself to be cheated. He also used dome of the teachings from Christianity to ensure that he obtained all the political support he needed. His opposition towards the Jews led him to stating that he followed “Aryan" Jesus Christ, who is believed to have fought against the Jews (Roderick, 1997). As a Christian, he would only spend time with Christians and use their gatherings to cement his followings, but he never had any spiritual attachment. He viewed the church as a stage for him to exercise his power and he believed that if he went away from the church, he would retrogress in his political as well as social stature. His spiritual detachment was evident, when he stopped going to church and receiving the sacraments after he left his home (Roderick, 1997).
He used propaganda to lead the people to a certain direction (Richard, 1989). He would use films and even appeared in some, where he urged the subjects to follow a certain direction in their decision-making (Deborah, 2011). He won the hearts of the people through his innocent public appearances, where he would pose for photos with a child or a baby to ensure that he portrayed a very caring man to the people. He would then use the media to distribute the photos and convince the people of his ability to redeem them from the issues that they faced. Before appearing in public places, he would carefully prepare and fully understand the scripts that he would use to convince the people over a certain issue. This trick never failed and was the main feature that elevated him to the pinnacle of German power (Deborah, 2011).
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF HITLER
Hitler’s leadership was marred by both controversies and applauses. He had his weaknesses and strengths as a leader. This could be best analyzed by considering his military position during his dispensation of power. Some of the strengths that he displayed were as follows.
ABILITY TO STRATEGIZE HIS MILITARY
Hitler has been lauded for his ability to strategize and focus on the weaknesses of the military forces of the opposing sides. He would take every detail and ensure that there was no entry point into his army (Roderick, 1997). Further, he showed his bravery in most of the military confrontations that he faced during his tenure. It was believed that he is one of the best strategists that ever existed. However, he lost his grip later after 1941.
GREAT ORATORY SKILLS
Hitler was very fluent and influential in his speech and expression. Before going to address the people, he would ensure that he examined all the issues that would be received by the people in their hearts, and that he would reach out to as many of them as possible. His oratory skills made him rise from a common man to a level that eventually influenced the Second World War. He also used these skills to make Germans believe that they were the finest people in the world and that they deserved to be treated best and others would come later (Roderick, 1997). Women would faint as they were overcome by emotions as they listened to his speeches. At the same time, he lured Japan to join him in his position in the Second World War against the other European countries and the United States.
A COMMANDING LEADERSHIP STYLE
His leadership skills were unrivalled in terms of ensuring that he had all the power. Hitler did not use any paper work and all his communication and issuing of instructions. Only one person handled his communication in a strategic way that involved only one other person. All his finances were handled by a single person (Roderick, 1997). He also ensured that the rest of the subordinates did not trust each other and they would always feel jealous of each other to ensure that only one man had the final word and command; Hitler. He also ensured that there was no retreat in his army, no matter how intense the battle became. No one rebelled against him.
Some of the weaknesses are discussed below.
He saw himself as a very powerful man and his ambitions to conquer Poland led to the start of the Second World War. These are the strong issues he believed in and even believe that he would win the World War despite the US and most of the rest of the European countries rallying against him (Roderick, 1997).
WEAK CHARACTER DURING DIRECT CHALLENGES
In several instances, Hitler felt that the society was against him and that he was inferior. After the attempted coup, he ran away and considered suicide before getting back and making a decision to go and plead with the people for forgiveness (Klaus, 1973). Furthermore, he committed suicide when he realized that he would be captured and assassinated like Italian Benito Mussolini. He shot himself, showing that he had a weak character when confronted with direct challenges.
ABUSE OF POWER
Hitler used this position in power to avenge his youth grudges against Vienna. A Vienna school refused to admit him for arts, and this made him hate the people who lived there, especially the Semites. After rising to power, he made a revenge that was orchestrated by his anti-Semitic attitude and eventually created a holocaust, where about 6 million Jews were killed. He also drove Germany into unnecessary wars and deaths (Klaus, 1973).
The leader lacked compassion and killed people at will. Even during dire times, he would not allow his troops to retreat, which eventually led to many of them getting killed on the war fronts (Klaus, 1973). When troops were defeated, he never considered the strength of the opposing military, but only blamed the incompetence of his army.
Finally, Hitler lacked the inability to recognize or accept reality. Despite the progress of all the opposing troops, he never conceded that the Second World War was lost, until they reached a point of no return. This was a failure, because had he read the weakness earlier. He would have called for negotiations which he only called too late to stop the progress of the opposing US and United Kingdom troops (Klaus, 1973).
EFFECTS OF HITLER’S LEADERSHIP TO THE GERMAN RISE AS A WORLD POWER
Hitler was behind the rise of Germany to acquire world recognition (Klaus, 1973). He used his charisma to convince Germans that they were the best race and people in the world. He planned for the invasion into Poland and this was the first step that showed the world that there was military and economic power that was in the making. He threatened to revoke the agreements that Britain and Germany had signed if they gave Poland independence. He went ahead and continued his invasion into Norway and Denmark in 1940. He had a dream of bringing together all the Germanic nations that included the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries with an ultimate aim of ensuring that they create a pure race (Klaus, 1973). He conquered Luxembourg, Netherlands and eventually Belgium, which led to the Italian army joining them under the leadership of Mussolini. They went to fight France and Britain, since Britain was considered the biggest enemy, and France had declared that they would help them in the war against Germans. After the merger between the German and Italian military, France surrendered, and Britain was left alone, and the events that followed lead to the Second World War (Klaus, 1973).
This chronology of events led to the recognition of Germany as a global force and that it had a strong military and economic base. The intervention of the United States in the European war and the acceptance of Japan to support Germany were good indications that they had made their name in the global front (Klaus, 1973).
STRENGTHS OF HITLER AS A MILITARY LEADER
Hitler succeeded to become one of the most renowned military leaders in history. First, he had an extraordinary memory and ability to grasp and remember details on technical issues with regards to his armaments (Ian, 2000a). Having had a passion of being an artist in his youth days, he used this expertise to ensure that he checked the details and internalized them. He also ensured that his soldiers believed in the plan and followed it to the latter.
He had the ability to closely analyze the flaws of any weaponry that was used by the opposing military and used it to his advantage during the war (Ian, 2000a). It was even further made amazing, because he had had no technical training on war. Hitler ensured that he had all the details with regard to new weapons and the number at which they were produced. He would use the numbers and scales to come up with counter projects and weapons that would be used against more sophisticated enemy. As a result, Hitler was able to improve German military base since new innovations that would counter the new weapons. People developed their weapons and presented to him for approval.
He cheated on war games and this helped him conquer some of the wars Germany went against (Ian, 2000a). For instance, he would add troops that had not been planned for to surprise his enemies, which often was fruitful. He also had the ability to convince the enemies that they were wrong until they had little belief in themselves and the execution of their plans (Roberts, 2006).
IMPORTANCE OF ETHICS AND MORALS IN LEADERSHIP
Ethics and moral values are important factors that people should consider before they help others to ascend to power (Martin, 1975). Ethics determines the way through which people would lead the people and how they would handle the differences in race, age and other demographics among the subjects. Unethical leaders lead the people to believe in what they believe in and not on what is right (Roberts, 2006). They develop a system that ensures that their needs are put first before those of the people. As a result, they use the people for their own benefits through manipulation and undesirable character (Martin, 1975). They ensure that the people do not see the unethical part, but ensure that they see the actions of the person as those that are aimed at helping them improving their livelihoods.
Unethical leaders are therefore not supposed to be allowed any place in leadership (Martin, 1975). They do what is considered immoral and lure the populace to believe that it is not immoral when done under certain conditions. They marry wives, kill people and ensure that the populace applauds them through their charismatic nature, just like Hitler did during his reign in Germany. These immoral leaders use people instead of serving the people, especially in political front (Winkler, 2007).
QUALITIES BUSINESS PEOPLE CAN BORROW FROM HITLER’S LEADERSHIP STYLE
Despite being an evil leader in the history of Germany, Hitler had certain values that could be looked at as models that should be emulated in leadership, especially among the business community. His ability to instill a belief that his Nazi people were the finest race can be used to show that leaders can change the feelings of everyone who works for them and that they can change the culture of a workplace (Ian, 2000a). Some of the things he did right are discussed below.
His eloquence and strengths in public speaking shows that speech can create a belief and a course for a people (Winkler, 2007). His speeches made people weep and realize that they should be in control of the destiny of their country with great visions and beliefs (Ian, 2000a). Business leaders can emulate this ability and ensure that the employees realize their potential by giving all their energy to achieve the goals of the organization they work in without being forced or compelled to do so. Hitler was able to align the vision of the country with the feelings of the people. He took time to prepare and ensured that his message was felt and internalized at all levels.
The deep understanding of the human nature was a likeable element of Adolf Hitler (Hans, 1995). He used his knowledge and understanding for his gain and ensured that the whole nation followed him. In order for one to make a good leader, they must understand the people they lead and ensure that they follow the leader as they treat him or her as one who cannot be faulted. Business leaders have often failed as some of the employees are not for them in the plans, as they form rebellions among them within the organization. This eventually leads to the fall of the business and should be avoided at all costs. When leaders are faced with difficulties, they should come up with strategies that can be easily associated with the people they lead to reduce rebellion and unpleasant competition.
Hitler used constant influence to ensure that the subjects always had him as a reference point. He would lead from the front and create a picture as being a common man like most of the people at that time. He would ensure that he used his church as a platform to reach out to the people and not necessarily as a spiritual point (Hans, 1995). This shows brilliance in terms of ensuring that he retained his state of being a commoner like the rest of the people. This way, he ensured that they never had time to think anything against him and that all his goals were achieved. Many leaders today face the challenge of having little contact with the people. They develop a clear distinction between themselves and their subordinates, thus ensuring that there was little likeness between them (Hans, 1995). It results into a feeling that the organization they lead did not belong to the leaders, and that the subordinates did not have any passion in ensuring that the organization achieved its goals. Leaders should provide inspiration and belief to the employees and a view in what the leader believes in.
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