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Ambulance service apologises for Hitler survey


An ambulance service in the West Midlands has apologised after staff were asked to rate how “cool” Adolf Hitler was in a questionnaire.

The survey was sent out to 4,000 employees at West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) as part of a £10,000 study to identify what made good leadership.

Respondents were asked to rate how “cool” 10 famous leaders were on a scale of one to five. Besides Hitler, the list included Gordon Brown, Richard Branson, Winston Churchill and Fabio Capello.

A WMAS spokesman apologised for any offence caused. He said: “At the end of the day, Hitler galvanised a nation into doing something quite unusual. Dreadful atrocities took place off the back of that. The staff involved were not trying to cause any offence to anybody.”

The project, called Making Leadership Cool: How Emerging Leaders Wish to be Managed and Supported, is a year-long study being conducted by two members of staff at the ambulance service.

The aim was to identify the key characteristics of good leadership, to allow the organisation and the wider NHS to be more efficient and effective which, in turn, would have a direct and positive impact on improving patient care, WMAS said.

The questionnaire, sent out last month, had so far been completed by “several dozen” members of staff, the spokesman said.

“The project sought to discuss different styles of leadership and the characteristics of leadership to help staff at all levels develop their career,” he said.

“In discussing different styles of leadership, a survey which is one small part of the project sought to include an analysis of the dictatorial style. With hindsight, it would have been better to have used a different example to illustrate this.”

The funding for the project was provided by the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority, he added.


Readers' comments (5)

  • If anyone reads the books on leadersghip, Adolf Hitler is in them as an example. I would not have found this offensive, regardless of what happened Adolf Hitler was a leader and thousands of men followed him. There is no denying he got results.

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  • I agree - this is political correctness gone mad - again!
    Whats wrong with including Hitler. He existed and he led people - that makes him a reasonable subject for the survey. His leadership style can be assessed without including the terrible atrocities undertaken under his command.
    If we do not discuss the wrongs and rights of these people we allow them to keep existing. Look at Sudam Hussain! He very much used the Hitler model of leadership.

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  • @ Anonymous x2 - yes Hitler did indeed exist and was a leader. It is appropriate to consider and analyse his style of leadership. Where I think the offence is caused is by asking how cool he is. Not analysis, not consideration but a trivialisation of the issue.
    I hope that this survey asked about a range of characteristics and that this is taken out of context. Even so the question is extremely crass.

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  • In response to Nick Rolfe from anon x2

    I guess as the Project is called 'Making Leadership Cool' the term 'cool' would be used a lot throughout the survey. In isolation I can see the potential for offense - but in context - I have a different view and perhaps am not being as 'sensitive' because of this view.

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  • Big deal!! Just PC gone mad again. What they're basically saying the is anyone bad cannot be discussed. What about Henry VIII, he cut of most of his wives heads but is still talked abou and portrayed as being 'cool'. Anyone who takes offense, get a life.

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