Leadership Case Study

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Case Study
Adolf Hitler
20th April 1889 – 30th April 1945

Adolf Hitler was born 20th April 1889 in Braunau am Inn, Austria.

Charismatic Leadership
Hitler is renowned for his charisma which can is evident in the speeches he gave during his rise to power and throughout his leadership. Hitler was described as a natural orator, attracting masses of thousands of German people. Dr Mueller who was present at the Beer Putsh* reflected of Hitler’s speech;

Many attribute Hitler’s successful rise to power to his charismatic communication. Hitler adopted a direct style of speech using straightforward language and demonstrating emotional understanding of the needs of the German people. Hitler’s charismatic communication succeeded in drawing in the German people’s attention and was arguably his most powerful asset.

In an attempt to define charisma, Halpert developed a three-dimensional structure made up based on the work of House The three dimensions consist of; referent power, expert power, and job involvement.

Referent Power
Referent power is centered on the leader’s relationship with his followers and their ability to influence through what followers perceive as desirable characteristics Hitler began his rise to power relying on referent power. He built a relationship with the German people based on the isolation they felt post World War I (WWI) and after the Treaty of Versailles was signed. Hitler used Germany’s state of disrepair to his advantage by conveying inspirational appeal to the German people.

Expert Power
Hitler had no academic qualifications when he began his political career having been kicked out of technical school in 1904, one year after the death of his father. The implementation and success of Hitler’s Keynesian policies after the depression was due to the advice of Hjalmar Schacht, the President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics Hitler did however have a significant amount of expertise in warfare as he had served as a runner in WWI. Hitler’s years in the trenches had a significant impact on his career as a military commander, This worked to Germany’s advantage during the early stages of the war, however it ultimately lead to the unnecessary death of many soldiers. Hitler’s beliefs on the duties of a soldier were shaped during WWI, he believed that soldiers should always be ready to obey orders without question. Furthermore, he believed that when soldiers and generals surrender, they and consequently he would avoid retreat whenever possible. This was particularly devastating to the German people during the Battle of Stalingrad, Hitler refused to pull back his men despite the casualty rate of approximately 20,000 German men a day.

Job Involvement
Job involvement refers to the emotional involvement and meaningful goals of the leader. This is an area in which Hitler excelled. Hitler’s goal of restoring German sovereignty after WWI and the great depression was one in which the majority of the German people could relate to. Germany suffered significantly as a result of the Great Depression with 6 million unemployed in 1932 and as a result they could personally identify with Hitler’s goals.

Transformational Leadership

Trait Approaches
Research conducted by Kirkpatrick and Locke has shown that there is evidence of key leader traits amongst effective leaders. These traits include; drive, desire to lead, honesty, integrity, self-confidence, cognitive ability, and knowledge of the business. Kirkpatrick and Locke state that these key traits Hitler’s traits include drive and desire to lead, socialism, control, task focus, and charisma. Task focus and charisma were previously discussed.

Drive and desire to lead
Hitler’s drive and desire to lead can be attributed to his patriotism and devotion to the restoration of Germany. Hitler’s patriotism to Germany began at an early age as a result of his unpleasant relationship with his father, Alois Hitler. Alois...
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