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#MicroblogMondays 125: King

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Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day (usually called MLK Day) in America.  It feels particularly poignant this year because we’re moving between two very different types of leaders.  Obama guided by pointing out the positive.  And Trump… well… I can’t say that we are being guided anywhere good.  Insurance companies will benefit greatly from his administration.  Individuals, not so much.

King wasn’t a perfect leader or a perfect person, but he showed up and he cared and he tried his best to guide the nation towards a better place where one group of people didn’t need to be down for another group of people to be up.

I think I miss him a little extra this year because we need leaders like that — leaders who can speak eloquently to express our hearts and energize us to keep fighting for equality.  There are strong leaders out there (Elizabeth Warren comes to mind).  We need them to get a lot louder now that Trump is leading us backwards instead of forwards.

To me, King is a great reminder that it’s not about perfection.  It’s about humanness; looking for the good in others and understanding that we’re all in this together.

What do you think makes a great leader?

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21 comments

1 Nabanita Dhar { 01.16.17 at 5:28 am }

I think the world needs more people like him. Too much hate, too much ‘I’ has replaced the us and we in our discourse around the world. That needs to change.

2 Nabanita Dhar { 01.16.17 at 5:29 am }

I think the world needs more positivity and more leaders like him who don’t thrive on hatred. And it is true for every country, every institution even.

3 Persnickety { 01.16.17 at 7:50 am }

Empathy and the right mix of flexibility and determination. I think also the ability to see the “other side” as people too.

4 Risa Kerslake { 01.16.17 at 8:58 am }

I think one of the biggest strengths of a leader is the ability to be empathetic. I’m going to miss Obama.

5 Jess { 01.16.17 at 8:59 am }

The ability to always push for a better country, a better life, in the face of adversity. A thick skin to ignore what others say in order to stick to principle. Principles. Working for the people you represent. Choosing kindness over derisiveness. I love Martin Luther King Jr for his messages and the way he led the charge for civil rights, and I love President Obama for similar reasons. I feel that for someone who was faced with such vitriol, such opposition, he had this amazing ability to rise about and get sh*t done. I also loved the occasion when he would subtly remind people that he was re-elected, that he was the people’s choice, that he had the power to do what’s right for people (that “yeah, because I was re-elected” comment comes to mind). He was a very human president, in the best possible way. I am seriously afraid for the future, for so many reasons. We need more leaders like MLK and Obama, and we’re bracing for the opposite.

6 Chandra Lynn { 01.16.17 at 9:14 am }

Yes…I so agree with you that we need King’s words at this particular moment in our story as a nation. A great leader? Complex, but not perfect. Conviction, empathy, and humility are key characteristics. A leader must be motivated by a love for humanity.

7 Anamika Agnihotri { 01.16.17 at 9:18 am }

The world moves in loops. I guess this is the reason why leaders like Trump take over after the likes of Obama. I hope with celebrating Martin Luther King’s day, people remember of what went into making your nation, what goes into restoring faith in humanity.

8 em { 01.16.17 at 11:19 am }

It is very simple. A great leader is always concerned with what he can do that will create the best lives for all of the people s/he leads. A poor leader is concerned with what his/her people can do to create a better life for him/her.

9 Parul Thakur { 01.16.17 at 11:51 am }

Leaders lead by example. They say what they mean and they truly care. MLK was a great leader and I hope US citizens see better days ahead. I also loved watching Obama’s positivity.

10 Cristy { 01.16.17 at 12:36 pm }

Martin Luther King has been on my mind a lot since the election. Particularly with Trump’s ongoing war with John Lewis. Sadly, I think we are going into an era where the disparity between those few who benefit vs the rest of us will become all the more profound. We’ll see first hand why change is needed because conditions are going to become very tough. I hate that we will be going this route, especially since a lot of it was preventable. But then I remember Dr. King and his work. How he unify people during a time similar to this. How it can happen again. We just need to remember those lessons of love vs hate and listening. We need to remember the dream.

11 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 01.16.17 at 12:55 pm }

Can I just second everything you said? Yes to MLK Day feeling particularly important this year. And yes to celebrating leaders while still recognizing their humaness.

12 Lori Shandle-Fox { 01.16.17 at 2:06 pm }

I think the greatest leaders, whether they are the leader of a nation, a school, or a company, are ones who have enough intelligence and humility to admit that he/she doesn’t have all the answers and isn’t an expert in everything. The ones who are so arrogant and insecure that they’d rather surround themselves with people who tell them how wonderful they are instead of brilliant minds to advise them are usually the worst and often the most dangerous.

13 Ryan { 01.16.17 at 2:27 pm }

I do believe you’ve hit the nail on the head. Great leaders definitely need empathy and sympathy, as well as a great knack for communicating well. They don’t just use big words, but make meaningful connections when speaking. Hopefully, there are a number of great leaders deciding to speak up at every opportunity since there are likely going to be many in the near future.

14 loribeth { 01.16.17 at 4:08 pm }

I like what’s been said here so far about empathy, inspiring/energizing others, and rising to the occasion. I think the best leaders are able to inspire others through their words and actions. They unite their teams and motivate them to work towards something bigger and greater than they could accomplish by themselves.

I’ve been thinking about this lately, after watching President Obama’s farewell address last week. Yesterday, dh & I went to see “Hidden Figures” (great movie!), which included a clip of JFK speaking in his own eloquent way about the space program and why it was so important. All I could think was “Now, THERE was a president who could speak & inspire.” The contrast with what’s coming couldn’t be clearer. 🙁

15 Traci York { 01.16.17 at 5:35 pm }

I think a great leader is someone who can think with their heart as well as their head, while having the knowledge and courage to know which one to chose in any given situation.

16 Mali { 01.16.17 at 6:05 pm }

I am loving reading the comments here. My list of what makes a good leader includes humility, honesty, principles, and compassion.

17 Laurel Regan, CZT { 01.16.17 at 6:52 pm }

We are certainly going to need great leaders to step forward and speak up in the days to come. I have hope that Obama will get involved as a citizen and make a difference.

18 torthuil { 01.16.17 at 11:13 pm }

I think what is needed most in a leader right now is someone who (at least tries) to speak to all people instead of dividing people into groups and speaking to people only as members of that group. You try to do that here, with this website, by appealing to people across the Adoption/loss/infertility/childfree spectrum. It’s what keeps me coming back. Of course, it’s a much bigger job for a political leader. I don’t know a lot about Martin Luther King but the little I know suggests he had that talent too.

19 apluseffort { 01.16.17 at 11:35 pm }

My thoughts are similar to what others have already posted. Ability to lead by example, empathy, intelligence, conviction, and inspiring others. Obama was not a perfect leader either, but he had all of those qualities. I will miss him.

20 Ms. Infertile { 01.17.17 at 3:58 am }

Trust, a great leader gives a sense of trust. Trust on them and trust on yourself to do the right thing.

21 Turia { 01.17.17 at 12:08 pm }

I posted my link yesterday using my phone which made commenting difficult but wanted to come back today. My big one is I want our leaders to have the political will to make the unpopular decisions that are the right thing to do. Things like being willing to put tolls on highways to raise money for transit to help ease congestion and gridlock- political suicide maybe in the short-term but necessary in the long-term. I am so sick and tired of nothing getting done because officials are always thinking about re-election.

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