6 Ways To Add MLK To Your Leadership Toolbox

Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader with great vision, courage and purpose . He was not afraid to take a risk in order to build a better world for his community. He ultimately believed in the goodness of people even when they made poor choices or carried out wrongful actions. He was the consummate leader whose life was cut too short but who taught us so many valuable lessons about leadership, serving and morality.

1. Know What You Stand For

Leaders need to know what drives their decisions and actions. They need to be clear on what they value. For example, MLK was a leader who put other peoples’ needs first and wasn’t afraid to speak up about his beliefs. He used his oratory skills to share his dreams and vision.

2. Don’t Let Fear Get In The Way

MLK most certainly had concerns about what he wanted to do to make a better world but he didn’t allow them to derail him. He just kept putting one foot in front of the other and moved forward. How can we face our fears?
  • Acknowledge what is frightening by saying it out loud.
  • Look at ways to overcome our challenges even if that means taking baby steps.
  • Swap out your fear for fascination.
  • Get others on board to help you.
  • 3. Help Your Team Come Together

    Great leaders like MLK are able to collaborate and share the stage with others. They bring out the gifts of the people they work with and help them shine. This leads to magical outcomes and discoveries.“A genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus but a molder of consensus.”-Martin Luther King Jr.

    4. Be Kindhearted

    Lead with your heart and you will never go wrong. Be an empathetic leader who sees and feels the challenges that others are dealing with. MLK allowed his heart to fight for freedom. He did it with compassion and conviction.
  • Recognize that team members are entitled to feel upset or frustrated.
  • Get involved to help solve roadblocks.
  • Care for the people we work with as well as the customers we serve.
  • Related: 6 Questions To Cement Your Leadership Brand

    5. Listen To Others To Truly Understand

    Especially during times of conflict it is essential for leaders to listen carefully to other peoples’ points of view. We may disagree but we will never be able to come up with a mutually beneficial solution if we don’t have a clear understanding of what are the real issues. In addition, we can’t rush to judgment or point fingers. Listen strategically for the hot buttons. MLK had to make deals but he could only do that after he listened to the different issues.

    6. Take Risks To Make A Better Work World

    Leaders must be willing to step out of their comfort zones to make changes. They need to reach deep inside and commit to making a leap. Empower yourself to take risks by:
  • Always doing the right thing.
  • Not worrying what others may think.
  • Clearly mapping out your message.
  • Putting other people before ourselves.
  • “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”-Martin Luther King Jr. What additional MLK actions are part of your leadership toolbox?