Today, Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) is celebrated, honored and remembered as one of America’s greatest leaders for his transformative ability to move the needle forward in regard to the civil rights movement in the United States and throughout the world. King sought equality and human rights for African Americans, the economically disadvantaged, and all victims of injustice through peaceful protest.
Commitment. Determination. Clarity. Vision. Inspiration. Transformational Mindset.
These words all describe the attributes of a great leader.
I’ve had a lifelong passion for studying the qualities of great leaders throughout history, and I have always admired and respected his ability to lead from the front. He set a higher standard for winning hearts and minds, through eloquence, persuasion, passion, reason and practicality. When I reflect back on his leadership, I am struck with the belief that all of us can learn from his lessons.
I’d like to highlight his brilliance as a leader.
Commitment: He had an undeterred commitment to doing more, belief in his conviction, and he discovered new ways to innovate upon his focus. He knew that there was no room to waver when it came to being a successful leader. He exemplified courage for his convictions, stood behind them, and made sure that others understood his belief.
Determination & Clarity: He remains one of the most eloquent speakers this country has ever seen. He was able to motivate millions through his speeches. In fact, he was so well spoken, and inspiring, that his words live on today and continue to inspire people more than 50 years later. He left no room for doubt as to what he wanted to accomplish.
Vision & Inspiration: Like all good leaders, he could read a room, or a situation, which often helped him anticipate the needs of the people that were around him. Similar to a strategic chess player, King thought several moves ahead. He knew that people “derived inspiration from involvement.” He understood that to get results he had to inspire others with his well communicated vision. Through his words and actions others were encouraged to dream big and then deliver on that dream and more.
Transformation Mindset: His respect for others, and sometimes tolerance, enabled him to bring about transformational change with long lasting impacts for his followers. Like many powerful leaders throughout history, King did not have a title that granted him legislative authority, his true leadership power was conveyed through his actions, clarity of vision and his belief in all that he sought to accomplish.
King remains one of the country’s most impressive leaders to this day. His command of these qualities, like the above, affords us powerful lessons for those every-day leaders to make and be the change – at home, at work, with peers and within family. Martin Luther King Jr. will always be considered one of the most exceptional people in American history.
As you spend time with your families over the long holiday weekend, in this persistent new normal, I would encourage you to reflect on some of the values King shared. I am humbled to honor one of the most transformational people of our generation. I celebrate his ability to be a student of life, to possess the ability to see the big picture and to communicate that vision, and to be one of the most inspirational and timeless leaders of our modern era.