Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most outstanding leaders of all time. He was an activist and a leader in the US Civil rights movement. And he once said, “the time is always right to do what is right.” If you are an aspiring leader, you will learn from some of the leadership lessons from Martin Luther King Jr. in this article.
Regardless of the leadership style you operate, you will find Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership lessons handy.
Even though MLK Jr is no longer alive, his legacy of service, sacrifice, commitment, and faith continues to live on. That’s why people worldwide still regard him as one of the foremost examples of a courageous leader.
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Here are some leadership lessons from Martin Luther King Jr. that every business can learn from:
#1. Summon Your Courage
Martin Luther King Jr.’s courage was legendary. And that was one of the reasons he became outstanding among his contemporaries.
Come to think of it, Dr. King led the civil rights movement with courage. Of course, he knew the violence and resistance that came with it. But he never relented.
At the time, he encountered several unimaginable obstacles. But every obstacle he met only propelled him to push his course further.
Again, Martin Luther King Jr. believed in the bigger picture. So, he never allowed the pocket of obstacles and challenges in the process to discourage him.
As a business leader or entrepreneur, you should learn from his courage. Nothing good comes easily. Even though you face unimaginable setbacks in business, look for ways to turn your setback into success.
And when all hope is lost, always look at the bigger picture. Just like Martin Luther King Jr., it will propel you to keep moving.
#2. Never Sugar Coat Reality
In the words of Warren Buffett, “honesty is an expensive gift, and don’t expect it from cheap people.” Martin Luther King Jr. never sugar-coated reality. He didn’t bend, water it down, or try to make it logical. He always said it the way it was.
Everybody that ever loved Martin Luther King Jr. loved him for one reason – he always told the truth.
During his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, he said something that shocked everyone. He said that he grappled with how he could accept the prize on behalf of the movement that was yet to win the peace that was the essence of the prize.
However, he concluded that he accepted the prize because of the non-violence approach the movement used to fight violence and oppression. In his words, “I always believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have a final word in reality.”
So, as a leader, learn to speak the truth at all times. It doesn’t matter whether the situation is for you or against you. Let everybody know you for your honesty. If everyone around you knows that you don’t sugar coat reality, they will always respect and follow you.
#3. Always Engage the Heart
Engaging the heart is one of the leadership lessons from Martin Luther King Jr. Contrary to popular belief, Dr. King didn’t make history by offering mere information or fact-based arguments.
He had a way of engaging the heart of the people. Every word he ever spoke was directed to the people’s minds. His words always give people something to ponder. That’s why Dr. King’s words still live to date even though he died over five decades ago.
If you are leading a team in an organization, learn to engage their mind. Learn how you can use your words to influence them positively. Ensure that every word you speak is valuable and makes people reflect.
Every great leader understands the power of words. And they use it to their advantage. Once you master the art of influencing people with your words, you will certainly be a great leader because the ability to influence is a leader’s most important asset.
#4. Great Leaders Create a Sense of Urgency
Every great leader is impatient – of course, in a positive way. And it’s one of the leadership lessons from Martin Luther King Jr. He was impatient in pursuing his dreams. He never allowed things to take their natural course.
If you are a leader or entrepreneur in today’s corporate world, you must create a sense of urgency. Regardless of how amazing your goals seem, you may not achieve them without a sense of urgency.
Once you create a sense of urgency, you will be able to get the cooperation of all your business stakeholders.
Here’s how you can create a sense of urgency as a leader;
- Communicate your business goals effectively, and with consistency. Let everybody onboard know that the goals are time-bound.
- It’s not just about urging your employees to create a sense of urgency. You should show them that you are passionate about delivering the results before the deadline.
- Address the employees that have contrary opinions about your ideas and let them know why it’s important to deliver results before the deadline.
- Let your employees know that they are appreciated. Provide them incentive or reward whenever they achieve great results. This will motivate everybody to put in more effort towards the growth of your business.
These are the leadership lessons from Martin Luther King Jr. Try to apply them in your life, and you will positively influence your followers.