NMK - Political Coaching and Communication - How Did Angela Merkel Reach Global Success?

How Did Angela Merkel Reach Global Success?

The huge political success of Angela Merkel has been considered as “a remarkable story of national leadership launched by serendipity but repeatedly advanced by her quick political learning, pragmatic negotiating skills, and an ability to capitalize on the missteps of others.”

The Chancellor of Germany has successfully guided her country “into a thriving economic powerhouse and propelled herself into a leader on the world stage.” Indeed, she is recognized as the most powerful woman in the world and is one of the most powerful world leaders, male or female.

Merkel was an apolitical physicist, but became politically active in the dying days of East Germany. Yet, under Helmut Kohl, the first chancellor of a unified Germany, she has been considered “nothing more than a weak minister”!

A look back at German Chancellor Angela Merkel's career - Source: Sky News

The success of Angela Merkel “is explained by the confluence of three factors”:

  • To begin with, it was due to the role of serendipity and fortuitous circumstances in her life.

The German leader took advantage of the tiniest opportunities to reach success. In point of fact, when a higher political position opened up, [she] uniquely possessed the rare combination of the sought-after set of credentials to make her the perfect, and often the only, political choice.”

  • Additionally, she had outstanding leadership skills.

Merkel succeeded in every position along her path. Actually, she handled all her responsibilities not only in an adequate manner, “but in an extraordinary fashion”!

“Angela could have been assigned to the Bat Ministry of the United Nations and she would have made something out of it”

Merkel's colleague when she was Minister of Women and Youth.
  • Finally, her political colleagues, mentors, and opponents underestimated her talent and driven ambition

The Chancellor of Germany capitalized on the tendency of her surrounding to underestimate her. For example, Angela Merkel was one of the female leaders who came into prominence because of her connection with a male politician. In consequence, Chancellor Kohl assumed that Merkel would always remain loyal to him because he was the reason that she became popular and she could never be powerful without him.

Yet, “this underestimation of Merkel created the opportunity for her next political move and ultimately led to Kohl’s downfall when he became embroiled in a corruption scandal"!


Genovese, M. A., & Steckenrider, J. S. (2013). Women as Political Leaders: Studies in Gender and Governing. London: Routledge. Retrieved from www.routledge.com

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NMK – Political Coaching and Communication

NMK - Political Coaching and Communication - How Did Angela Merkel Reach Global Success?