Developing Ethical Leadership
An ethical leadership means leading with the sense of valuing ethical values or considering the old fashioned ways, beliefs and other values that people considers as valuable. It is the leading with all the sense of altruism, kindness, integrity, loyalty, and trustworthiness which are possessed by a certain leader. In this characteristics and considerations to be considered, a question to the ethical means of leadership rises when we pertain to the historical holocaust.
In the Holocaust Museum located at Washington DC, a person who goes on visit inside the building will be able to be enlightened about the real meaning of the holocaust. Every image that certain people could see inside would make them feel the pain and the sufferings which the Nazi victims felt during the holocaust period. An example of an image which could lead a person back to the holocaust is the picture where the Americans felt the cruelness of the Nazi soldiers in some of the Nazi’s concentration camps or bases where Nazi soldiers tend to make their prisoners suffer.
While inspecting further, a certain image will take the tourists’ attention wherein the image is a picture of a thin and almost dying man handing an aluminum bowl. This image conveys the period when the Nazi soldiers had their prisoners dying because of malnutrition, thus, it also conveyed the same period when the Nazi soldiers force their prisoners to do hard labors.
Inside the museum can be seen a large map which shows how far and wide the conquering of the German leadership did during the holocaust period on the year 1941 until 1942. There’s also a part of the museum where all the countries involved during the world war is painted, in this hallway the painted parts were the glass windows. As the strolling inside the museum continues, there were a lot more figures and pictures which showed the cruelty of the Nazi soldiers led by the considered most cruel man on earth, Hitler.
There’s a room inside the museum called “the tower of faces” wherein all the sides of the room are filled with hundreds of pictures posted. Those people’s pictures which are posted in the walls of the room are those who are involved in the holocaust, some are those who became a Nazi victim and some are those who contributed along the side of the Nazis.
There’s another large image in the museum where one could see a group of people with the yellow star patch on their dresses just like on the movie “Schindler’s list” which is used by the Nazis to easily determine if such a person belonged to the Jewish people.
In general, there are 900 artifacts displayed in the museum, 70 video monitors which shows all the cruelty of the Nazis towards the Jewish people, and in the second floor of the museum, a tourist could realize and notice how the non-Jewish people risk their lives by trying to save some of the Jews. For the last destination of the tour, tourists are allowed to watch a film entitled the Testimony wherein those who survived the tragic holocaust narrated their real life story. The film would last for 60 minutes then after that tourists are then led to a hall where they could light their candle for the holocaust victims (Times, 2008).
All the artifacts and the videos which are exhibited at the museum showed how the sense of true leadership was ignored and were not present at the period of the holocaust. The cruelness of the Nazi depicted how heartless Hitler is as a leader. The moral responsibilities of the Germans were being taken for granted; a part of their ethical culture considers a mean kind of political values. Because of the continuous reigning of power and territory to the wealth of the Germans, they’ve build up a confidence wherein they exceeded to the extent that they thought they could rule everywhere and that they are the most superior people who exist (Jones, 1999).
According to the understanding of ethical leadership, leadership should involve a not coerced relationship between the leader and his people or the people who are under the coverage of his power. In Hitler’s situation, he has violated such an important consideration regarding with how he should have governed his people. The holocaust created a devastating nature of leader-people relationship; lots of Jewish people were forced to work under the supervision of the Nazis and they are also forced to comply with whatever law the leader would implement (Price, 2006).
The Jewish people should have been heard with their cries but instead they were oppressed and suppressed by the political system during the holocaust. Since good leadership means both technically and morally benefiting, it is clear that though Hitler technically made a great contribution to Germany, he created an opposite effect to the morality of his being a leader (Price, 2006). An evidence of this statement can be seen at the museum wherein lots of Jewish people are a group exposed without any clothing and are humiliated in front of those non-Jewish aristocrats or politically involved people.
A morally and technically good leader aims for the betterment of his country as well as for his people. In this way, the justification of the leadership would be justified under ethically valid leadership but the whole success of Hitler by aiming power and territory altered the evaluation of his leading by simply killing most of the Jews (Price, 2006). Hitler never considered saving even a single child soul but instead he commanded that all Jews must be seized and killed just like Anne Franks who wrote her own diary about the whole holocaust.
In the entire world’s history, Hitler made the worst kind of violation of ethical leadership wherein morality is considered as a single pin of needle between million strands of hair. In taking the great responsibility of being a leader, morality is easily recognized, thus, it is the reason why there is a study of ethics in order to justify the true essence of leadership.
Adolf Hitler, as a leader, allowed exploitation such as rape and humiliation of Jews during his leadership, he used his position and power to gain the authority over other people and instead of using it in order to command people to widen or do something to develop their territory more, he used his authority to do what he wanted and that is to rule his coverage with an undefeated power wherein all people fear and almost worship him (Ciulla, 2003).
The essence of leadership changed through the period of time, though however one may look and analyze the way that Hitler led his people, no one would say that he is a great leader. The positive side of his being a leader such as being a great conqueror who contributed more territories in the history of Germany is overlapped by all the negativities of his other deeds such as killing, exploiting, oppressive and suppressive leadership, and most of being a leader who acted as he does not have a heart at all.
Whenever one would walk into the Holocaust Museum which has all the memories of the tragic holocaust inside, a certain person will fell the outburst of pain and sadness empathizing the victims of the holocaust. A horrifying movie which could be directly compared to the event during the holocaust is the Schindler’s list where all Jewish people were cruelly shot without any good reason, raped without the ability to refuse, exploited and humiliated, and forced to work without being provided enough amount of food to gain energy from (Spielberg, 1993).
This experience of going to the Holocaust Museum made me realize that a good leader does not much contribute to his/her most way when he/she does not consider the goodness of his/her will towards his/her land and people. Thus, no matter how a leader conquers and rules the whole world under his authority, the true sense of leadership will still be judged on his moral or generally ethical deeds onward his ruling and loyalty to his obligation as a good leader. This reveals the fact that no matter how small or few a leader’s contribution is to his land, he will still be considered a good leader as long as he works for the betterment and sake of his land and people.
Ciulla, J. B. (2003). Ethics and Leadership Effectiveness [Electronic Version]. Retrieved January 13 from http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/5284_Chapter_13_Antonakis.pdf.
Jones, D. H. (1999). Moral Responsibility in the Holocaust: A Study in the Ethics of Character: Rowman & Littlefield.
Price, T. L. (2006). Understanding Ethical Failures in Leadership: Cambridge University Press.
Spielberg, S. (Writer) (1993). Schindler’s List. In Universal (Producer). USA
Times, N. Y. (2008). United States Holocaust Memorial Museum [Electronic Version]. Retrieved January 12 from http://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/north-america/united-states/washington-dc/attraction-detail.html?vid=1154654609095.