Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was as a civil rights leader. He was an activist who had a powerful transformative dream, which galvanized a movement and a nation toward positive change. Each year on the anniversary of his birth I listen to a recording of his greatest speeches. During his “I have a dream” speech, I clearly see the role that everyone can play. Dr. King emphasized a compelling vision of the future which will require leadership at many levels in society, to bring it into fruition.
A leader is characterized as someone who has a vision for the future which excites people to the extent that they want to be a part of the new reality. Dr. King in his speeches and his actions, challenged us in at least four areas. He wanted us to achieve excellence, focus on economics and equality, as well as improve our circumstances and relationships, through education and nonviolence.
Dr. King’s dream should be placed in the context of a vision for a better nation and a better world. We will achieve this dream and many others through leadership. We therefore, must play a major role in develop strategies and plans to reach lofty objectives. We must unlock our leadership greatness, in order to make the dream a reality.
I have determined at least 10 attributes which would be instrumental in helping us to unlock our leadership greatness, to achieve the dream. I will address six of them in this blog. The entire 10 will be present in my new book “Unlock your leadership greatness.”
• Powered by a dream
• Student of the game
• Set high standards
• Lead by example
• Make others better
• Serve others
Powered by a dream
You must be powered by a dream, which gives you direction and a destination. I have already mentioned the importance of the dream and what this vision could do to energize people. The dream gives us purpose and passion and a strong reason to succeed.
Student of the game
We have to be students of the game, to gain a better understanding of the rules and regulations, as well as the instructions on how to live and relate to people who are different from us. When we understand the game, we increase our self-awareness and knowledge of people and their differences and similarities. When we act like a student, we are inquisitive and continuous learners, always focusing on education. We realize that education is internal and therefore, it is something that people cannot take away from us. Education is something that allows us to qualify for opportunities and if these opportunities are not granted, we have the knowledge and wisdom to make a case for demanding equality and justice.
Sets high standards
When we unlock our leadership greatness, we set high standards because we recognize the value of setting a high bar to push ourselves to unbelievable heights of achievement. We will not tolerate something that is less than what we believe we are entitled. The high standards will cause us to reach higher and prepare better. The high standards will demand us to act in a way consistent with our self-image.
Lead by example
We understand the value of image. We know that reputation is a powerful motivator. When we lead by example, others will follow us and hold us accountable to ensure that our actions are in alignment with our vocabulary. When we lead by example we have the power and capacity to attract others to our leadership. We will recruit people one by one in our passionate pursuit to improve the world.
Make others better
Through our actions we engage in activities where we received a personal benefit. Customarily, we asked the question, “What’s in it for me?” The personal benefit is a driver for our behavior. Individuals, who operate at a higher level, realize that if they make others better, they will receive a benefit in the short-term or somewhere down the road. The benefits are not the reason for their actions, but are coincidentally, a byproduct of their generosity. Dr. King and his leadership, was known for mentoring young men and women. He practiced the art of making others better. If we are good in a certain skill area (subject) and have a neighbor who is not, we are to help them become better. They need to get to a competency level which will allow them to be successful. If they are good in the area where we are deficient, we need to be open and receptive to their instruction. There is strength in numbers and we should never try to tackle difficult situations on our own. When we make others better, at some point in our lives, we will receive appreciation to enhance our situation.
We recognize that we are not here solely for our own purpose. When we were children, there were two axioms that were emphasized with regularity. The first is the golden rule. We should do unto others as we want them to do unto us. Secondly, we were told to walk a mile in someone’s shoes, to get a better understanding of their character and the circumstances that shaped them. When we unlock our leadership greatness, we are immersed in a desire to serve others. We have learned the power of humility and being connected in an inter-dependent manner to those around us.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. placed a major emphasis on economics, excellence, equality and education. These areas would be highlighted in the achievement of his dream. One of the catalysts to making his dream a reality are individuals committed to his dream who have unlocked their leadership greatness.
Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser