In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr I want to talk about leaders today. Specifically, what makes a great leader — a transformational leader!
Dr. King is a shining example of a great leader. His steadfast leadership during the civil rights era was nothing short of transformational for all the people that followed him — and beyond even that, to those across the world and even across decades! Dr. King knew where he was headed and he kept on that path, no matter the cost. No matter the backlash. He had a purpose and he was driven.
As leaders in our lives — whether that be the leaders in our business; in our homes; our roles as mother or wives; the leaders in our communities — there’s a lot of valuable lessons to be gained from this remarkable hero.
Lead with integrity. To be a leader you need to stand for something. And you need to stand for it even when it’s hard — even when there is opposition. Be prepared and willing to engage in difficult conversations. Be ready to take on challenges. This is often the place I see GREAT leaders fall short. They buckle under the pressure or quit in the face of their first major resistance. To be a truly transformational leader you will have to be prepared to put your mission above your comfort.
Lead with empathy. Take the time to understand your followers (or audience or whomever you are serving). Know their circumstances. Know their challenges. If you’re leading a team, make sure to get in the trenches with them. This time spent will not only make you more connected, but it will make you the best advocate you can possibly be for that group of people(s).
Lead with a spirit of openness. No one knows all of the answers. The second you think you do, you stop learning. Great leaders understand this. It’s why they are always learning and actively working on their development. Carve out time consistently to work on your own growth.