A long weekend always gives us the opportunity to recharge and prepare for the week ahead. Hopefully, it also gives us a chance to reflect on the reason behind it. Yesterday we celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is undeniable that MLK is recognized as one of the greatest leaders of our time. One way to help honor him is to look at what a great leader is and work on becoming better leaders ourselves.
One of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s greatest strengths was his ability to bring people together. He understood that one person alone would not be as effective as thousands together. He did this by understanding empathy, by relating and connecting with people in order to inspire others. Work on strengthening your empathy skills by becoming a better communicator. The best place to start is not by talking but by being a better listener to your peers.
Another trait of a great leader is focus and commitment. Leaders inspire those around them by modeling what others aspire to. In the case of MLK, he saw obstacles not as problems but as opportunities. He was adamantly opposed to using violence in the cause of civil rights because he believed that returning violence with violence, only created more violence. He believed this so much so that it earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. The path you take may not always be easy, but it is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Lastly, it is important to remember that great leaders are not perfect. A great leader admits when they make a mistake and constantly works on self-improvement. It is okay to not have all the answers. Your peers will respect you more when they see you work through mistakes and failures with persistence and determination.
Tips to become a better leader:
- Work on your empathy skills. It starts with listening.
- Lead by example. Don’t just talk the talk.
- Admit when you make a mistake. It’s okay to not always have all the answers. Take it as an opportunity to learn from others.
- Be a life-long learner. Stay curious and look for ways to improve.
- Great leaders focus on giving more than they expect in return.
A final lesson from the great MLK is to have a dream, communicate it, and do it. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying. Real leaders have big dreams and take action. For this #MakeItHappen, work on building your leadership skills. As always, let us know how it’s going, and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or share your story and tag us on social.Go make it happen,
Luly & the YTeach Team
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr