Today we honor Martin Luther King Jr. It’s a day of remembrance of a transformational leader. Dr. King remains an enigma in many people’s minds. His legacy will always shine on the right side of history. He challenged and risked his life to achieve justice and mobilized people toward their dreams.
James Macgregor Burns who studied and wrote about transformational leaders defines transformational leadership this way,
“And if leadership is, as I believe, a moral undertaking, a response to the human wants expressed in public values, then surely its greatest task-the task, even, of a global leadership-must be to respond to the billions of the worlds people in the direst wants, people whose pursuits of happiness might begin with a little food or medicine, a pair of shoes, a school of walking distance.”
He became the driving force of a cause many African-Americans road to freedom and justice. His massive 1963 March on Washington marked a milestone in civil rights history.
He was a compassionate leader whose lessons, principles and values endure until today. He is an example of how we should all lead to improve our lives, our organizations and society.
He was a leading example through effective communication and compelling vision for a better tomorrow-His Dream was not just a dream. He worked tirelessly to achieve it. He was a black man coming from ministerial environment of the south, subject to ridicule, insults and outrage that plagued every black person at that time.
Dr. King provided the kind of leadership that we need today. He created a sense of self-respect and identity for blacks as well as for the underprivileged people of all races. He asked Americans to put aside racial divide and live the ethical values that America was founded upon.
He was able to rise above the pain and suffering of many of his brothers. He was willing to pay the ultimate price to see his dream become a reality. He told a black reporter in Montgomery once, “Once you become dedicated to a cause, personal security is not the goal.”
Moral courage is a sign of a transformational leader. His leadership was characterized by high moral values and ethical standards of our society. Dr. King had the courage to lead. Leadership provides moral compass of working toward the common good and doing the right thing. In leadership character matters!
Real leadership is take courage. It’s the road less-traveled. Robert Kennedy captures the heart of leadership, “Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.”
Dr. King chose to lead when others stood by or were too afraid. He made personal sacrifices that were noble and took years to see the outcome. His purpose and vision were greater than everything he had. His courage and faith prevailed to sustain higher human ideals that dignifies all Humanity.
Dr. King had the strength of character, faith and compassion a to lead his people to their dreams. Noticed I said THEIR dreams. He once said that, “Life’s most urgent question, is what are you doing for others?”
Now challenge your own leadership. What are you willing to stand for? Do you have the courage to lead when the odds are against you? Do you have a vision that’s greater than yourself? What would be your legacy?