For the past seventy years, Adolf Hitler has been known as one of the most evil men in history. The Fueherer, as he was known, exhumed hatred and violence in his pursuit of power.
A vile man, driven by violence and a lust for power, eventually drove himself mad with his own idealistic vision of what a perfect world would be, and how he would achieve it. While his motives may have been questionable, his ability to lead and influence people is not. This case study will analyze the leadership tactics utilized by Adolf Hitler, as well as the personal issues he had with himself, society and the world he lived in. Also, Hitler’s unmatched desire for ultimate power, which ultimately led to his demise, will be examined as well. Ambitious scarcely describes the intensity of the lust for power and the craving to dominate which consumed him” (Green, 2001, pg. 8). Leadership, though defined through text books as, “The ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals” (Judge. 2013, 368), is not only limited to the ability to influence people. Leadership also includes the mental and physical maturity and knowledge to be able to influence people ethically and morally.
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The greatest problem with Hitler’s leadership was that he allowed his ego driven desire for power to become greater than his vision for his country. Without the ethical and moral standards, leaders become dictators, and most will become separated from their wits and end up with less than optimal results.
In Management: The New Competitive Landscape, Bateman defines situation analysis as, “a process planners use within, time and resource constraints, to gather, interpret and summarize all information relevant to the planning issue under consideration” (pg. 108).
A situation analysis is a tool used to assess a particular situation and dissect the internal and external parts, focusing on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the organization in order to accomplish a goal. Internal Environment The internal environment, or the factors that Hitler can control, are in his eyes limitless. Hitler truly believed he was in control of everything. His goals were driven by hatred and a hunger for power. “Hitler was a master of nationalist appeal” (Green, 2001, pg. 13), and “speech was the essential medium of his power” (Green, 2001, pg. ). The way he viewed the world he lived in, Hitler was able to control everything and everyone around him through his ability to speak and influence. Anything he could not control, he sought to destroy, which included but was not limited to the Jews, Marxists, Czechs, Poles, French, any intellectual and the educated middle class. From an outside perspective, Hitler was a selfish, hateful, spiteful, violent man with demented goals towards world domination, and essentially was a cancer to the world.
The external environment, which includes the factors uncontrollable by Hitler, to him is non-existent. Hitler controlled his external environment through brute force and violence along with fear. Countries like France and Britain allowed him to act this way for a great deal of time, as well as did some of the smaller areas conquered by the Nazi forces. It’s wasn’t until Hitler’s ego driven motives were finally seen by the rest of the world did anyone begin to rise up against him. Eventually, the other worldly enemies of Germany were able to stand up against him.
Hitler’s own arrogance also became an external factor, as towards the end, he was unable to control his emotions or separate his delusion from reality. Political turmoil combined with good timing allowed Hitler to rise to power legally and begin to rally the people of Germany behind his vulgar plans.
A SWOT analysis is an evaluation a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (Armstrong, 2010, p. 77). A SWOT analysis is a useful tool in comparing a business, or in this case a character’s, traits to the situation and to other characters.
A SWOT analysis for Adolf Hitler
- Passionate Speaker
- Gifted Actor and Politician
- Angry and full of rage
- Ego driven and selfish
- He became convinced of his own infallibility (EGO)
- Rose to power during a time of political unrest and indecisiveness in Germany
- Master of surprise tactics: gauged the psychological effects
- Anyone who interfered with his mission was an enemy of the people.
- Intellectual and educated people.
Hitler was a very passionate speaker that was incredibly adept to connecting to his audience in order to influence or persuade. The people he was speaking to would feel his passion. His charisma for speaking combined with the weak structure of Germany at the time made him influential beyond any other. He had the combined skills of an actor and a politician, “he could talk well and he had the actor’s gift of mimicry to amuse his companions. (Green, 2001, pg. 12), and everything he said and did had a calculated thought behind it.
He was never caught off guard or accidently let anything slip, “he never let slip and unconsidered word. He never said what he did not intend to say and he never blurted out a secret. Everything was the result of cold calculation” (Green, 2001, pg. 7). Hitler’s own ego was his biggest weakness. The arrogance to believe that his was a “man with a mission, marked out by Providence, and therefore exempt from the ordinary cannons of human conduct” (pg. 9). Hitler also had no respect for any type of God or higher being, deeming himself as a supreme deity in his own eyes.
Anyone that believes they are on a divine mission to destroy and conquer clearly needs a path back to reality. His anger and rage would often play through during his speeches, though it was stated that he would often catch himself, calm himself, flatten his hair and continue on as if nothing had happened, and he also had a tendency to be on the defensive, making excuses and pointing the finger at anyone but himself or his country for the shortcomings of the time. Hitler took advantage of a great opportunity in early 1930’s Germany. There was a time of political unrest and uncertain leadership.
The leaders of the respective political parties were weak, and Hitler saw the chance to put his plan into action to build the perfect nation. Incredibly patient and a master of the surprise tactic, he waited until the timing was perfect to seize any opportunity. The greatest threats Hitler faced would be anyone that he was unable to control. The intellectual and the well-educated didn’t buy in to his rhetoric. Hitler had one way, his way. If you weren’t with him, you were against him. Anyone that interfered with his mission was an enemy of the people.
Being a leader is not just about influencing people to achieve a goal; leadership has to do with the motives behind the organization and its goals as well. When a leader allows their own ego to dictate the direction of the organizational goals instead of what’s best for the organization, a problem will occur. Such is the case of Adolf Hitler. His ego driven desire for power outweighed the organizational goals for the people of Germany and the rest of the world. An idealistic perfect nation was a nice thought, but eventually the overly eccentric steps taken forced Hitler across the line from leader to dictator.
Best Choice of Action I truly believe that Adolf Hitler could have been the world’s emperor, had he not let his ego get in the way. His biggest threats at the time were Britain and France, who he had kept on their heels for the majority of his time in power. Instead of being aggressive and driving forward hastily, Hitler allowed his ego to define his decision making. A lack of advisors in addition to an incredible ego cost him his empire. At one point Hitler said he would rather lose Germany altogether than surrender. The best choice of action for Hitler would have been to not be so closed off and untrusting.
To appoint a cabinet of trusted officials that could help him objectively make a decision, as objectively as a genocidal maniac could possibly be, of course. With a little bit of an outside viewpoint, Hitler may have been able to see the flaws in his “Mission from Providence” and instead been able to be more efficient and effective in his plans for world domination. Characters Hitler had several types of power during his reign. Though seized through an opportunistic election, Hitler was granted Legitimate Power over Germany though their election process.
The leader with legitimate power “has the right, or the authority, to tell other what to do. (Bateman, 2004, pg. 369). He also had Coercive Power, or the control over punishments. (Bateman). Hitler certainly used an Autocratic Leadership Model, which “makes decisions, then announces them to the group” (Bateman, 2004, pg. 374), He was also a very charismatic leader; charismatic leaders are “dominant and exceptionally self-confident and have a strong conviction in the moral righteousness of their beliefs” (Bateman, 2004, pg. 83). In addition to all this, Hitler was also a transformational leader, “Transformational leaders get people to transcend their personal interests for the sake of the larger community” (pg. 383). These qualities combined made Adolf Hitler the leader that he was, or at least the leader he started out to be. Once his ego and his own personal vendetta with the world clouded his vision for the organization, his empire began to crumble and his ability as a leader ceased.
Student Use of Leadership Outcome
This past week, Hodges University at PHCC was invited down to the main campus in Fort Myers in order to receive an award for outstanding leadership and activity. Although I am not currently the leader of this group, I seized this opportunity to go to the main campus and meet with the influential people within the university structure. As a new club at a satellite campus, the Ambassador Club was having trouble being noticed and acknowledged by the university. At this ceremony, I made sure to meet with the important department heads, deans and advisors in order to establish a channel of communication for the future.
Our biggest problem as an organization right now, is that we are virtually unseen, by not only our community, but our university and campus as well. When I tell people I go to Hodges University, most people say, “Where’s that? ” and “Huh? ”. Even the students on PHCC’s campuses hardly know what Hodges University is. Our struggle with the university has been gaining the backing we need in order to secure a foothold within the community. A presence on campus and in the social eye would not only increase the student’s experience, but could possibly increase enrollment and student involvement.
Our goal for the coming year is to show the university that we are getting noticed in the community and on our campus. We want to be noticed not only by the students, but by the administration as well in order to generate a better experience for students, alumni, faculty and prospective students alike. Learning to utilize the different types of power in leadership positions and when to use them allowed me to make the impression I needed to make in the presence of other leaders in positions of power.
Leadership is about more than just getting a flock of sheep to follow.
Leadership is about having the moral and ethical maturity to influence people towards the right goals for the right reasons. Hitler lost sight of the moral and ethical end. He decided that his own diving ego was more important than the organization he was leading, which just so happened to be his nation of people. Hitler set out wanting to build a stronger, more dominate nation, a perfect nation above the rest. At first, he was charismatic and extremely effective. Once the leader loses the ability to influence, his ability to lead is gone.
The people began to see how eccentric and evil and violent Hitler really was, and in effect, how unfit of a leader he truly was. Had Hitler had the moral ground ethical ability to continue to influence his people to follow him, the world may have ended up in a very different way.
- Armstrong, G & Kotler, P. (2010). Principles of Marketing (14th Ed. ) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
- Bateman, T. S. (2004). Management: The New Competitive Landscape (6th Ed. )
- New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Green, W. , & McCarthy, G. (2001). Adolf Hitler. Oneonta, NY: The Hartwick Humanities in Management Institute. Judge, T, & Robbins, S. (2013). Organizational Behavior.
I hereby certify that this paper constitutes my own original work and is properly quoted and cited where I have used the writings of another. Further, this paper has not been submitted for credit in any other Hodges University class or other college course or for publication elsewhere.
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