Before moving on it is important to look at the question of charisma. It is so much a part of how we look at leadership – but is such a difficult quality to tie down. Charisma is, literally, a gift of grace or of God (Wright 1996: 194). Max Weber, more than anyone, brought this idea into the realm of leadership. He used ‘charisma’ to talk about self-appointed leaders who are followed by those in distress. Such leaders gain influence because they are seen as having special talents or gifts that can help people escape the pain they are in (Gerth and Mills 1991: 51 – 55).
Weber also looked toward the national units as the "historical ultimates that can never be integrated into more comprehensive and harmonious whole." (Gerth and Mills, p. 48). This is part of what made Weber antagonistic to socialism, especially the international socialism of this period. In addition, Weber viewed the rationality of capitalism within a national unit as the most that could be hoped for in terms of achieving human freedom. To integrate the state with control of the economy, as socialist doctrine urged, would mean an even further centralization, with a consequent loss of freedom. According to Weber, "the state had 'nationalized' the possession of arms and of administrative means [from the feudal estates]. Socialization of the means of production would merely subject an as yet relatively autonomous economic life to the bureaucratic management of the state. The state would indeed become total, and Weber, hating bureaucracy as a shackle upon the liberal individual, felt that socialism would thus lead to a further serfdom." (Gerth and Mills, p. 50). While Weber sympathized with the struggle of the proletariat, he was too individualistic to join this struggle.
Gerth, HH & Mills, CW 1982, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology…
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Wright Mills and the Making of Political Intellectuals.
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Wright Mills, From Max Weber: ..
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