What I’m reading:. I am rereading Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the momma’s Heart by Becky Thompson. I love reading books about motherhood and encouragement and this is an uplifting book. I am also reading How and Economy Grows and Why it Crashes by Peter D. Schiff and Andrew J. Schiff, it is interesting to see the pointed fallacies of that have become ingrained in country’s economic landscape and conversation.
What I’m watching: Nothing I just finished Queen’s Gambit and Virgin River and looking for a new show – being mom to a two year old leaves very little time for TV!
What I’m listing to: Anything Mellow folk!
Leadership in History That Inspires Us
One of my favorite definitions and teachings of leadership is by Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, to whom a leader is a dealer in hope (powerful, huh?). His principle of supremacy of virtue argues that acting with good morals and ethically are paramount.
See, I have been thinking a lot about leadership lately. It is truly difficult not to, as in order to face so many of the challenges we are presented with today, it is essential that good leaders are exercising the best of the modern leadership principles. When we talk about leadership (I did not choose this topic at random) we have to think about how it has been shaped and how history inspire us today. Martin Luther King was one of the greatest examples of leadership and provides us with not only with methods of conflict resolution but also keeps us inspired and engaged in leadership to this day.
I got a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and my area of focus was governance and conflict resolution, so it is correct to assume that much of my interests lay in the area of resolution of conflicts, addressing issues and their challenges, as well as how that impacts good (and bad) governance. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a magnificent example of leadership and its principles: vision, effective communication, willingness to learn, willingness to lead and conflict resolution.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a timeless example of leadership, had the capability and gift of illustrating a picture to the time’s constituency and sparking through that vision, a movement of the people to achieve it. Dr. King’s vision of all people being equally created, based on the foundation of the United States, a new country, set by the founding fathers with the phrase “all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable (…)” and his pursuit for a United States that would embrace the real significance of these words along with his pronouncement of such thought would become, to this day, one of the most inspiring speeches of all time:
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out true meaning of its creed, “We hold these truths self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
King stayed on course with his vision and focus; a powerful vision, that required endurance and excellence in order to guide a nation to achieve the very roots of its foundation of freedom and equality for all. Through his efficacy in communication and charisma, combined with his expertise in reaching larger masses through the emerging broadcasting channel, the television, King fascinated crowds and his passion mesmerized many, consequentially creating a relationship of trust.
His academic career has many highlights and he authored 10 books during his lifetime (I believe that to be quite astonishing considering his schedule and event involvement). His ever-learning personality allowed him to take the time to understand and analyze the changing political scenarios and the complications that a plan for change could succumb to and how to recover from such situation.
Then we have his willingness to lead. Even today we know that standing up for what you believe and for the visions you have can cause backlash and even create situations (amongst family members, co-workers, communities, states and nations) that are uncomfortable; and King rose above all the possible endangerment of his family and people close to him, sacrificing and witnessing barbarisms all while keeping his commitment and steadfast willingness to reach the vision he had set forth.
Lastly, we come to the principle of conflict resolution: the obstacles faced during the civil rights movement were many and the personal threats were various. MLK’s plans to boycott the Montgomery city bus lines took clearly set goals, a plan of action, organizing and reaching out to new and old alliances, community outreach, open communication channels, having opportunities to negotiate and create room for innovation. Later, in 1956, this led to the U.S. Supreme Court declaring the Alabama’s laws on bus segregations to be: unconstitutional! While this was a victory of unmeasurable scale King, humbly wrote:
I would be terribly disappointed if any of you go back to the buses bragging, “We won a victory,” but we must take this not as a victory over the white man, but as a victory for justice and democracy.
There are many things we can learn from MLK. I will summarize it, bundling it all in a few leadership thoughts: In times when a leadership of excellence, a dealer in hope, is imperative, let’s look back and learn from those who moved people with passion, based on knowledge, experience and the willingness to sacrifice.
Let’s take the time to choose a response that is wise and try to provide answers to criticism in a selectively and sagacious manner, even more so in a world where urgency is the norm and social media and fast internet services create overwhelming pressure; because once our words are “out there”, even if you try to take it back chances are, they have already impacted, been read, saved, told and shared with others.
Let’s not keep our vision limited, even if it means opening up to complexities. Then, voice this vision while making it succinct and build a convincing “why” so people can be moved by trusting your vision, combining it with facts that can fuel and strengthen your cause (your project, challenge, movement…).
Regardless of whether your leadership inspires social change, professional improved performance, serves to strengthen identities as a symbol to the community or society; don’t forget that as effective leaders, being able to articulate purpose and meaning are vital, creating mutual respect in the process and opportunities for people to achieve something in their capacities (individually or as a group) to create paths needed to lead society forward. And forward is the direction we want to go.
Thank you for reading it this far! Have a wonderful week! Here is a Spotify playlist for some work motivation this morning (Click the image and start listening!)