Yesterday we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. His actual birthday was on January 15, 1929, but the national holiday always falls on a Monday. I remember how proud my sister was that they shared a birthday. For many, MLK Jr. will always be considered one of the most exceptional people in history. However, he was also a great leader who helped lead the Civil Rights Movement. Today I am going to talk about what made Martin Luther King Jr, a great leader, and how you can be one as well. Leadership is where a person brings a team to achieve something together. As well as help the team also continue to be successful as a team and individually.
- Leaders should be inspirational in helping others be passionate about a goal and themselves. MLK helped inspired people of all races, ages, and gender to peacefully fight for African Americans to have equal rights and freedom in the United States. He was an important part of the Civil Rights Movement, and even today, he is still an inspiration. As a leader, you need passion. If your team is having an off day or is frustrated for any reason, you need to be the glue to keep the team together and help them overcome these feelings and/or obstacles.
- Second, MLK was courageous. MLK and his people who were in the movements he led were in dangerous situations. As with any change, you have people who are resistant. Even though being put in jail, having crosses burning on his lawn, and having people around him get hurt or even die, MLK was brave. This bravery was infectious that the people around him were also courageous.
- Third, leaders need to be collaborative. If you want to come up with a solution or a movement that will help people in the long-run, you have to understand that it isn’t just you who comes up with the ideas, the execution, and ways to get things done. It is a team effort. MLK understood this, and that is why he was a great leader who made revolutionary changes in the United States.
- Four, leaders have to be resilient and learn to adapt. MLK Jr. was getting daily death threats and went to jail, and he recovered quickly to keep leading the different Civil Rights movements like the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Greensboro Sit-In.
- 5th, Martin Luther King Jr. practiced transparency. He allowed others to know his vision and the reasons for his actions. In Spring 1963, when he was sitting in jail, MLK was being criticized by White and Black clergy for putting minors in danger. From his jail cell, MLK wrote the famous Letter from Birmingham Jail, where he detailed his theory of non-violence.
- Leaders practice empowerment just like Martin Luther King Jr. In his I Have a Dream speech, MLK empowered over 200,000 that day with his inspiring words that made people rally together to make a difference.
- MLK showed that leaders need to be ready for action. If it weren’t for this, then the Civil Rights wouldn’t have been successful or would have taken longer to get to. He came up with strategies that caused the right movements to start and keep going.
MLK was a transformative leader who changed the United States. We might still be dealing with some of the issues that he was trying to lead movements to change, but at least there has been significant progress to get there. He personified what leaders should strive to be. Passionate, Flexible, Proactive, and Visionary. He also helped his people reach success towards the common goal, as well as have an inner strength.