Various scholars over the years have attempted to define the concept of leadership based the insights provided by reputable thinkers who have contributed to the field at various times in history. The Oxford English Dictionary (2019) offers several definitions of leadership such as: “the action of leading a group of people or an organization, the state and or position of being a leader, and the leaders of an organization or a country.” Similarly, the same dictionary defines followers as people who admire a particular leader or a group of ideas (Oxford English Dictionary, 2019). Based on the above definitions, the concept of leadership and followers encompasses a certain influential person whose beliefs and ideas inspire a group of people to admire them. This paper will compare different conceptualizations of leadership and followers of respected thinkers Karl Max and Max Webber and offer a personal insight on the same concept.
Conceptions of the Concept Leadership between Leaders and Followers
The sets of ideas advanced by both Karl Max and Max Webber were revolutionary to the society. For Karl Max, he conceptualized leadership as a which is tool instrumental to the success of the values, religion, culture and social order held by humanity (Cawthon, 2017). The German philosopher held that the natural order and economic realities inherent to the society were critical towards determining the relationship between leaders and their followers (Cawthon, 2017). Max believed that the relationship between the leaders and their followers would only thrive if the society was truly free, a phenomenon he held would be possible in a classless society. For Karl Max, the evils of the society emanated from the eternal struggle of various classes of humanity.
The conceptualization of Max Webber on the concept of leadership between leaders and followers proposed that authority is legitimized into a certain belief system. Webber argued that all three forms of authority namely: traditional, charismatic, and legal-rational could influence their respective followers to accept a specific culture or tradition. For example, he argued that traditional authority, which was usually hereditary, actually perpetuates the status quo in a society. Additionally, the German economist explained that charismatic leadership inspired a social movement among followers. Lastly, Webber held that the legal-rational stirred a belief in law and natural order among the followers. The views held by Max Webber on the concept of leadership between leaders and followers held that those inspired by a particular figure or set of ideas adopted the teachings of their heroes and incorporated them into their day to day life.
My Conceptions of the Concept
The concept of leadership between the leader and the followers is a rather dynamic affair. The followers tend to identify with the ideals propagated by the iconic figure, often incorporating their teachings into the normal way of living. Also, a balance between the reality of economic conditions, religion, and culture of a particular group of people is vital to foster a productive relationship with a leader, who is often an iconic figure. In the event of a disparity between the ambitions of a particular people and the values propagated by their leader, a disruption to the concept emerges. The leader ceases to be a uniting figure and instead becomes divisive. Based on the teachings of Karl Max, the society is always inclined to follow a leadership system which best answers their prevailing economic, religious and cultural practices without disrupting the existing natural order.
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