What MLK teaches us about leadership and communication

By: Brandy Haslam, MBA – “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”

Most of us don’t even have to think twice about the source of this quote. Martin Luther King is a household name for everyone across the country and is without a doubt, one of the most influential speakers of all time.

He has moved millions with his poetic language and thought-provoking ideas, inspiring a movement that will forever be remembered throughout history.

As a business owner and someone who is passionate about becoming a great leader, I have been reading every book and listening to as many lectures as I can in hopes of brushing up my skills. Today, while browsing for some good articles, I came across Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I have a Dream’ speech and it got me thinking.

What can Dr. King teach us about leadership and communication? The answer is, a lot.

Number 1: Have a vision, communicate it and act on it. King says in his speech, “I am happy to join you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.” King had a dream, a vision for the nation and let everyone know about it. Leaders have dreams, big ones! We have to take big steps to communicate those dreams and take big actions to get there.

Number 2: Total commitment. Looking back on Dr. King’s speech, it’s hard to overlook the fact that his vision was way bigger than anything possible in his time. This is what real leaders are all about! Having a vision, an idea, an outlook that is bigger than anyone can imagine.  And even though he was threatened and despised by many for his vision, he stayed committed.  It may be beneficial to evaluate our own commitment and dedication to ensure our values are in line with our actions.

Number 3: Clear communication. King’s message was written for people of all walks of life, backgrounds and education levels. It was written for the people. Great leaders have to help their followers see what they see by being clear and concrete. Are you clear with your vision and ideas for the present and future of your company?

Although this only scratches the surface on the lessons we can learn from King, we think it’s a pretty good start!