Transformational Leadership: Martin Luther King Junior

Subject: 💭 Psychology
Type: Profile Essay
Pages: 2
Word count: 605
Topics: Leadership, Martin Luther King, 📖 Social Studies
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Transformational leadership is undoubtedly one of the leadership approaches that have been considered or regarded as the best leadership styles during change management situations. Its emphasis is on motivation, appealing to the ideal of the followers and best of all, empowering followers to achieve the set goals and visions (Northouse, 2015). Martin Luther King Jnr. Is undoubtedly an example of a transformational leader who inspired changed and had a vision for a better world without racial discrimination and prejudice (Ljungholm, 2014). His example is an excellent reference for exploring transformational leadership because of the change and influence he had not only in America but also the world in general. He inspired the followers, motivated them and acted as a role model to be emulated by everyone; thus a practical example of a transformational leader.

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One of the recommended qualities of transformational leadership is the inspiration and motivation to others. As such, Luther King Jr. had these attributes, especially inspiring people to adopt the set vision that he had for the country and the world (McGuire & Hutchings, 2007). A transformational leader also inspires change and such is one of the attributes that made Martin Luther King Jnr such a transformative leader. In his case, King was demanding for respect and tolerance for everyone; this emphasis made him a dominant force to reckon with in the civil rights movement. Nonetheless, positive transformation is the essence of the transformational leadership of which Martin Luther King Jnr. was committed to do and achieve. Besides, transformational leadership is embedded or based on a vision (Northouse, 2015). In retrospect, a leader ought to have a dream and a vision for his followers. In the case of Martin Luther King, his leadership approach was based on a particular vision or dream of a better America and a better world where people practiced and exercise tolerance with one another.  In this sense, it is evident that he qualifies to be one of the transformational leaders that the world has an example.

From the textbook, the qualities of Martin Luther King Jnr. are all but inclined towards transformational leadership. Accordingly, the emphasis of transformational leadership is in inspiring change, and as such, the leaders should act as change agents and inspire or motivate people towards achieving or accepting the change. Nonetheless, Northouse (2015) supports my experience and assertion of Martin Luther King Jr. as a transformational leader because he recommends that for the efficacy in leadership, transformational leaders need to have the internal motivation as well as the self-management or the aspiration towards meeting and achieving the set goals and objectives. Martin Luther found motivation within himself and used it in controlling the masses and fighting for the rights of the minority.  He loved what he did, dedicated his time and passion to fighting for human rights and equality.

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On the other hand, transformational leaders are those who can be entrusted to make tough decisions (Northouse, 2015).  Such is the attribute of Martin Luther King Jnr. because fighting for the rights of individuals and spearheading a major civil rights movement in America at the time of racial prejudice and hostility needed a leader who could make tough decisions. Finally, Northouse (2015) recommends that for one to be a transformational leader, he or she has to be visionary. Visionary in this sense implies that the leader needs to have a particular direction by which he takes or directs the followers. The same is the case with Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. whose leadership and championing the civil rights reconsideration was based on a vision of a better and racially tolerant America and the world.

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  1. Ljungholm, D. P. (2014). Transformational leadership behavior in public sector organizations. Contemp. Readings L. & Soc. Just., 6, 76.
  2. McGuire, D., & Hutchings, K. (2007). Portrait of a transformational leader: the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 28(2), 154-166.
  3. Northouse, P.G (2015). Leadership, theory and practice, 7th ed. New York: Sage Publications.
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