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Charismatic Leadership

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Introduction

In today’s world, leadership is an extremely beneficial trait. People need leaders that will voice their problems and represent them in a way that these people cannot represent themselves. In the earlier days, people believed in their leaders so much that they believed in what they told them and followed these leaders faithfully (Shackleton, 2008 pp. 24).

Charismatic leadership is an attribute that attracts the followers mind, body and soul. Some people are ready to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their leader. These leaders are always known to value their followers’ feelings and what they desire. These leaders are ready to examine themselves for the sake of improvement. They are able to use their skills and wit to pass messages through oral skills or body movements. These leaders, in most cases, create a group that the followers can identify with it. This, therefore, provided a sense of belonging to the followers. In most cases these leaders take high risks for the sake of the people. Most of them have been killed for the desires of the people to prevail (Adams, 1963, pp. 107).

One of these charismatic leaders is Martin Luther King Jr. he came up with several initiatives that he used in order to fight for the rights of the black people living in America. Martin was born in 1928. He attended public schools in Georgia that were segregated for the blacks. He also went to a college that was specifically known for Negroes in Atlanta. He graduated and studied theology in a seminary. He later became a pastor in his father’s church. Martin was born at a time when racial segregation was all over America and Europe. The black people had their own schools, lived in their own neighbourhood, and had buses that provided transport for the blacks only. The white people did not want to associate with these black people because they saw them as murderers, rapists and thugs. Martin saw the pain on the faces of the black people and realized that these people are crying for justice in all the evils they are subjected to and the recognition of their rights (Bennet, 1964, pp. 10).

Martin was a charismatic leader who devoted his time to the liberation of the Black people in America. He was the leader of the civil rights movement that fought for the African American people. He used nonviolent ways to make known his demonstrations relevant and his grievances known.

In the Montgomery bus boycott a young pregnant black girl refused to give her seat up for a white person. It had been stated that a white person should not stand while a black one is seated. Another lady was also arrested for not giving her seat up.  This led to the bus boycott. All the blacks were not supposed to board those buses, and they obliged for 385 days. These led to segregation in these buses banned and the blacks achieved equal rights as the whites regarding these buses. This shows that a quality leader is one that can defend his people no matter the circumstances he faces. For example, here Luther’s house was bombed, but he did not waver in his fight for equal rights. He demonstrated confidence as he represented the black people (King, 1959, pp. 30).

A charismatic leader should have a vision for his people. He should also show faith in his dreams so that people can trust and learn from him. In his speech, “I have a Dream” he had a vision that one day black people will not be segregated from the whites, but that there develop a race that is colour blind and that the  people be judged not by their colour, but the content of their character. He also believed that one day the whites will believe in the blacks, and one of them will be their leader. This vision defined the fact that later on even after his death his followers’ pursued this vision and achieved it. Martin was supremely confident in this dream that indeed the government recognised the black rights and abolished Jim Crow laws that were segregation.

A charismatic leader should also be ready to sacrifice for the sake of his followers. In the Million Man March Protests, Luther was trying to make the government realize that there are several poor people living in America. In these protests, Martin had been given several death threats, but he still went on to defend his people. In this protest martin was pelted with stones and even thrown a brick but he did not at one time turn to look back or ponder about his safety. He instead went ahead to fight for the people’s rights. This was a leader who was determined in his fight for liberation of the black people. His influence was so strong that even after his death his followers continued the fight for their rights (King, 1967, pp. 12).

Conclusion

In these discussions on Martin Luther’s life and works, we realize that leaders are the driving force of a group that they lead. Leaders should, therefore, be confident, action based and self sacrificing. Martin gave himself for the people’s sake. Charismatic leaders should also not be violent people that jeopardise the lives of other people. Martin was a peaceful protestor and all the demonstrations that he staged were always peaceful. This shows that he was a leader who even cared for those he was not representing. He wanted equal rights for the blacks, but never wanted to hurt the white person and that is why he held a peaceful demonstration.

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