What is a leader? What characteristics do people need to encompass to be considered a true leader? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was considered on the greatest leaders of the civil rights movement. But, what made him a great leader? The following characteristics come to mind when I think of someone as a leader. A leader is someone who is proactive, empowering, respectful, adaptable, a good communicator, resourceful, passionate, and dedicated.

In my current course of study I was challenged to examine the following picture and think about what characteristics of a leader come to mind when you look at the picture. Obviously, I recognized the picture as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech. A monumental speech that played a crucial role in the civil rights movement. Immediately the words that came to my mind where the same ones that I used previously to describe a leader. However, as I continued to study the picture I began to look at the thousands of people that were standing in the picture. Thousands of individuals standing in the extreme heat to hear and share in a message and a vision of equality.  Men and women coming together to hear a man share his dream, his idea, and then carry out his message in their lives. What Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on that hot summer day was truly inspirational and showcased the characteristics of true leader.

A true leader is one who empowers others to lead and shape a shared vision. People continue to lead through Dr. Martin Luther King’s message and become a leader within themselves. Dr. Martin Luther King encompasses the characteristics of a true transformative leader. A leader must possess those characteristics of adaptability, communicator, resourceful, passionate, proactive, and empowering, but, a true leader is one who can truly empower leadership in others and help others become a leader within themselves. We can all be leaders in one way or another. Image what the world would be like if we all became a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leader of our lives? The possibilities would be limitless.


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