Adolf Hitler: A Comparison to the Leadership Laws of John Maxwell

Essay by gbsepter October 2006

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Management and leadership are two words that go hand-in-hand. In order to be a good manager one must be a leader, and in order to be a leader one must also be a manager. From time to time we come across a disorganized person who fosters inspiration in others and is considered a leader. However, these individuals are rare. We also come across those individuals who are very organized, yet possess no leadership skills whatsoever. Since most of us require some sort of orderliness in our lives we tend to follow someone who can maintain order while the rest of the world is collapsing, and at the same time lead us to higher levels of accomplishment despite the surrounding chaos. Management and leadership, which are somewhat different qualities, tend to enhance each other when applied together. A comparison of John Maxwell and Adolf Hitler's management/leadership principles will give a better understanding of what it takes to be a true leader.

An accepted definition of management, with regard to leadership, is getting things done through other people. Leadership then is the ability to inspire others to strive towards a common goal. According to John Maxwell, "leadership is about influencing people to follow" (p. 14). If we examine the concepts of management and leadership on these terms, can someone as diabolical as Adolf Hitler be considered a good leader? He managed to have over six million Jews put to death, yet there is no record of him actually killing anyone himself. He inspired the citizens of an entire country to commit themselves to the conquering of the world, and nearly pulled it off. Under the definitions of management and leadership set fourth above, Hitler's accomplishments were attained through the efforts of others he inspired, and the feelings of national pride conjured up...