Posts Tagged ‘Heart’

Pike with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a pre...

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a press conference after the march to Selma, Alabama. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., my mind easily goes to the topic of leadership.  On this day we pay tribute to the life and work of one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known.

In what is often referred to as the “I Have a Dream” speech, there are some profound insights into what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Great leaders refuse to accept the status quo: In fact, I would say that this is the defining characteristic of real leaders.  They are not indifferent; they are active and unwilling to agree to their status and circumstance.

Great leaders do not sugar-coat reality: This speech came at a critical point in the civil rights movement.  Dr. King did not pull any punches.  He faced the most brutal facts of his current reality.

Great leaders engage the heart: While logic may require the mind, stories and metaphors move the heart.  This is the difference between sharing information and inspiration.  Dr. King was a master of captivating hearts.

Great leaders call people to act with their highest values: It would have been easy for the civil rights movement to change strategy and resort to violence as some did.  However, just like Nelson Mandela when he became president of South Africa, Dr. King called people to a higher ground.

Great leaders refuse to settle: It would have been easy for Dr. King to surrender his principles and to have settled for less than his vision, but he was stubborn in a good way.  He was persistent and called people to persevere.

Great leaders cast vision and hope for a better tomorrow: Leaders can never grow tired of sharing their clear and relevant vision.  They have to help their followers see a vivid picture of hope as Dr. King did so effectively.

The “I Have a Dream” speech is full of lessons in leadership. 

In the spirit of this holiday, take time to sit down with your family and read or watch the entire speech.  You may find it on YouTube.

It will change forever the way you understand Martin Luther King Day.

written by Jim Shearer for Leading Hearts: the Spirit Ranch Blog; http://spiritranch.us/reflectiononagreatleader