“Cool” is not a word usually associated with the Nazi dictator who plunged the world into a war that cost tens of millions of lives. To add to their discomfort, the ambulance employees were then asked to rate Hitler in comparison with their own chief executive.

Workers were also asked to rate the “coolness” of other leaders including Richard Branson, Gordon Brown, Winston Churchill and the England football team manager, Fabio Capello. The survey, entitled Making Leadership Cool, is part of a £10,000 project that will help the NHS West Midlands Strategic Health Authority to devise a new leadership strategy.