If you're teaching a class in leadership and wish to start up a lively discussion, try posing that old chestnut of a question -- "Was Adolf Hitler a leader?" The last time I tried this, in an honors course at the University of Maryland, a woman student vehemently answered "YES." Bad as he was, she said, he mirrored the hopes and hates of the German people, he won elections, and he fulfilled his promises by changing Germany along the lines his followers wanted. How could he not be called a leader? She had the class all but convinced -- and almost me. Almost.
It was not, of course, that she was in any way pro- Hitler, who stands as the most universally detested man in history. The problem was not confusion about Hitler but about the true nature of leadership. One of the many virtues of this excellent collection of working papers is Joanne Ciulla's confrontation at the outset of the question, What constitutes a good leader? This central question raises further questions about ethical and moral leadership. The problem for this book, and for many others on leadership, is that the richness and heterogeneity of the field of leadership have led to great confusion about the difference between ethical and moral leadership; some use the terms interchangeably in this volume and elsewhere.