Leadership – what did we learn from Martin Luther King

Last week (April 4) marked 50 years since the death of one of the world's greatest leaders - Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. 

Leader of the Civil Rights Movement through the 1950s and 1960s, King campaigned tirelessly for equality and prohibition of racial discrimination across the US. His diplomatic leadership techniques and peaceful protests throughout this period united people across the country and around the world, resulting in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 

It was these efforts that changed American culture forever and taught larger-than-life leadership lessons that still resonate today.  

Here are some of King's most influential leadership quotes – can you apply them to your leadership style? 

"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." 

Can you read a situation and adapt your leadership style to those around you? Understanding your team and working with them is the key to gaining trust and confidence in the steps you make 

"People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other." 

Understanding your communication style and the style of your team members is crucial to successful and effective communication 

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?' 

A recent survey has revealed feedback is one of the most important contributions a leader can make. Organisations are moving away from the traditional annual or six-monthly performance appraisal to providing frequent feedback through open and honest conversations. 

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” 

Stress within the workplace is more common than many realise. Whether it stems from a leader or from within the team, identifying stress and the cause is the first step to overcoming it and ensuring the impact is less than it could become.  

"In a very real sense, the character you demonstrate in achieving your purpose is the legacy you leave to those leaders coming along behind you. 

What kind of leader do you want to be remembered asAre the examples you set, the ones which people can trust and believe in 

Want to become a better leader?  

EQ Consultants is an HR, Executive Recruitment and Training consultancy in Christchurch. They are holding a leadership workshop entitled Developing Effective Managers and Leaders in Christchurch on Thursday 26th April.