Was Adolf Hitler a Leader?

This is the twenty-sixth Blog in a weekly series regarding the state of Leadership in America. I would suspect that most people would answer this question by saying that yes, Hitler was a leader, but he was an evil leader who led Germany to ruin and exterminated millions of people in the process. I would argue however that a poor leader, a bad leader or an evil leader are not leaders at all. They may be an intolerable boss at work, they may be a self-serving CEO of a business, or they may be a dictator or tyrant who controls a country, but holding a position of authority and power does not make a person a leader. Likewise, being a brilliant orator who is skilled at giving inspirational speeches, like Hitler, does not make that person a leader. Too often we have mistaken the ability of a person to get people to produce results as leadership. This misconception starts at an early age in our neighborhoods and schools where local bullies realize that they can use fear, intimidation and coercion to force their playmates and classmates to do something for them or to others. They use their physical attributes and general meanness to dominate others. That behavior is neither leadership nor the beginnings of it. We must never equate bullying with leadership or the potential of leadership ability. Fortunately, most bullies grow out of this bad behavior, but many do not and for those, this bullying scenario of fear and intimidation continues into adulthood and manifests itself within families, at work, in gangs, etc. Left unchecked bullies at any age and within any situation are a real danger to the person or persons being bullied and society in general. Hitler was a person who grew into the bully role, surrounded himself with a gang of lesser bullies and together they kidnapped the soul of a nation. Yes, he did get results, but they were accomplished at a price in lives and property that still today sickens any right-thinking person. To call him a leader or even an evil leader cheapens the word. And this applies to the horde of tyrants who lived before and after Hitler.
Real leadership is not based on fear, intimidation, and coercion. These things are foreign to the motives and actions of a real leader. Good leaders don’t bully their workforces to get results. Bullies threaten; leaders persuade. Bullies want immediate results and will get them anyway they can no matter the consequences; good leaders drive for sustainable long term results always considering the impact on their people, the environment, and the nation. The intolerable boss at work, the self-absorbed CEO who is only focused on profits and the tyrant who amasses power at the expense of their people all have one thing in common: none of them are leaders. They may hold leadership positions, but they are not leaders in any sense of the word. Rank and reward have no appeal for a real leader. Good leaders recognize the position of trust and obligation that they have with their employees, the environment and the nation. Because of the personal impact they have by the decisions they make, leaders will put their organization’s mission and people above their personal desires and needs. Hitler to the contrary, rose to power with his true aims for Germany cleverly cloaked in the fatherland mystique. Was Hitler a leader? Demigod yes; leader no.

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This entry was posted in Business, Government, Leadership, Leadership DNA, Management, Paul Okum, Politics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Was Adolf Hitler a Leader?

  1. Pasty Teehee says:

    Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

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    • paulokum says:

      Thank you very much for the kind comments and I’m glad you like my Blogs. I just published the latest one just a few minutes ago. The feedback is much appreciated, I rearly head from anyone on the quality of the content of my Blogs. I’m passionate about leadership

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    • paulokum says:

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  6. I was curious if you ever considered changing the structure
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    • paulokum says:

      can you give me some examples of what you mean. I don’t control the structure of WordPress. Only the content of my personal Blog is mine. Are you talking about the content of the entire site or just the content of my blog??

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