Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Fundamental Leader of Modern Society

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a fundamental leader of modern society. His lectures and speeches stirred the concern and sparked the integrity of a generation. The movements and marches he led brought significant changes in the framework of American life through his courage and selfless devotion. This devotion gave direction to thirteen years of civil rights activities. His leadership abilities inspired men and women, of all ages, in this nation and around the world. Although King was only thirty-nine at the time of his death, his life was remarkable for the ways it reflected and inspired so of the country’s political, social, and cultural developments (MLK Biography).

Transactional leadership can be temporary; once the exchange takes place, the connection between leader and follower may end. However, transformational leadership requires the committed engagement of both leader and follower in order for the mutual satisfaction of needs and values to occur. The leader must foster this relationship in order for the follower to continue to support it – in other words, to have them follow (Lussier 350). Martin Luther King Jr. was a transformational leader. Transformational leadership starts with the development of a vision, a view of the future that will excite and convert potential followers. This vision may be developed by the leader, by the senior team or may emerge from a broad series of discussion. Transformational leaders seek to transform the organization, and promise followers that they also will be transformed in some way. In some respects, the followers are then the product of the transformation (Ling). Transformational leaders are often charismatic, but do not solely succeed through a belief in themselves, but rather a belief in others. King was able to mobilize a nation towards a vision. He expressed his vision best in his “I have a Dream” speech: “So I say to you, my friends, that even though we must face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I...
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