Few people can argue that Dr. Martin Luther King, whether or not you believe in his philosophies or not, was one of the most influential leaders of all time. And while he is no longer physically with us, the fruits of his labor affect all of us today. One of the things that makes his leadership so effective, is that his values that sustained him while he was leading, can be replicated today. I do believe that if more people focused on similar leadership, more positive changes will affect our society. To that effect, I’d like to offer three examples of Dr. Kings leaderships in hopes that those who come behind him will also consider adopting them.
For one, Dr. Martin Luther King was not afraid to disrupt the status quo. There’s no doubt, that speaking about race relations in a time where racial discrimination was legal not only disrupted the safety of whites, but also the safety of blacks who were either too afraid to take a stand against it or had some how internalized the racist narrative against them. So many people were complacent with the injustices of black and brown people during the civil rights movement that they were just willing to allow discrimination to continue. Dr. King was willing to take a stand against those injustices and in doing so provided opportunities for people that would not have received those opportunities otherwise. He took a stand against what was normal because by speaking out against racism and other forms of oppression, he was willing to make other people feel uncomfortable because it was through this discomfort that change would occur.
Dr. King was also not afraid to have a dream… then communicate it and do it. Just as there were people who were complacent with racism, there were also people who were against it but didn’t have the confidence to stand up against it. And even if they did have the confidence to stand up against it, they wouldn’t do it openly and therefore they remained complicit in allowing discrimination to occur. One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King is as follows “ if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.“ I can attest to the fact that it’s hard to be the only person standing for something, but it’s pivotal if you want to execute long-term change. Dr. King set an example for this and my hope is that the generations to follow won’t be afraid to do so as well.
Last but certainly not least, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr had total commitment to his cause. He believed in what he was doing and did not allow other people’s lack of belief to interfere with him. Most of us have the pleasure of meeting him after his success. We weren’t with him as he went through the trenches of being judged and humiliated during the civil rights movement. Yet, despite having water hoses thrown on him and being investigated by the FBI, he stayed true to his convictions and lead from a place of love. Some thought he was crazy to have such a nonviolent approach to a system that was anything but non-violent. But by standing his ground, he managed to provoke change in a greater capacity than any other leader during that time. He didn’t care that the others didn’t agree with him, as long as he agreed with his self.
I, for one, am a huge Martin Luther King Jr. fan. But as we stated earlier, regardless of whether or not you agreed with his philosophies, there’s no doubt that his influence is monumental. Whatever your position is, I suggest that you borrow from the aforementioned strategies so that you can leave the impact that is ordained within you. in doing so, society will be a much better place to live.
To whom much is given, much is to be expected. Sometimes, the pressure of leadership can be overwhelmed. If you find that leader ship is challenging for you, please contact one of our black therapist today.