The purpose of this paper is to examine the leadership of Adolf Hitler and what the degree of its success says about the importance of moral virtue in the development of modern charismatic leadership.
There are several important elements which need to be considered in order to understand the influence of Hitler’s leadership:
- Charisma- Great oratory skills.
- Opportunistic Attitude- Hitler knew when the right time to grab an opportunity was.
- Ability to Move Emotions- Hitler was a master of sensing the emotions of the people and responding appropriately.
- Will to Power- Adolf Hitler had a lust for domination.
- Vanity- Hitler loved adulation.
- Poverty of Private Life and Human Relationships- He had no understanding for either the spiritual side of human life or its emotional one. This contributed to his ferocity.
- The Ascendant Personality- Hitler was extremely dominating.
- The Destruction of European Jewry- His cause was not virtuous.
The case study shows that Hitler was an exceptionally charismatic, shrewd and influential leader. A multitude of the qualities he possessed, are essential for successful leadership. Though despite these attributes, he failed in the end. While there are multifarious reasons for his failure, the important thing to note is the terrible nature of his crimes against the European Jewry. His cause was not virtuous and as was discussed in Heifetz’s book “Leadership without Easy Answers,” a leader must have a morally and ethically virtuous cause. However, the strategies of Hitler can always be applied in modern day situations for successful leadership.
In conclusion, the case of Adolf Hitler not only opens a window into his leadership but also offers warnings for would-be charismatic leaders on the importance of moral virtue.