We take special time this week to remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the impact he has made on society. In communities and schools across the nation, his “I Have a Dream” speech will be replayed and recited.
“I Have a Dream” is an amazing speech and aspirational vision that Dr. King shared with us. But effective leaders – like Dr. King – are much more than dreamers; they take action on their dreams to make an impact. As an example, not only did Dr. King share a “Dream”:
*He worked tirelessly – along with many others – for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark piece of legislation which made discrimination of African-Americans (and others) illegal.
*He not only talked about nonviolent civil disobedience – he acted on it. One of the nonviolent protests he led resulted in him being sent to jail in Birmingham, Alabama, where he penned his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
*Less famous, but very important, are the many other marches he led – including the March from Selma to Montgomery, AL for Voting Rights – which was instrumental to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
There are many ways in which we can use Dr. King as an example of a great, effective leader – these are just a few. All too often, I hear “wannabe” leaders say things like “I’m more of a visionary and less of a doer. I like others to do the nitty gritty work.” That is not leadership!
What new actions do you need to take to accelerate progress on the vision to which you are committed?