The Wrath of a Great Leader: Martin Luther King Junior
An article on Inc. written by Hitendra Wadhwa, a professor at Columbia Business School explores how MLK wrestled with anger and what we can learn from his example.
He says “Average leaders focus on results, and that’s it. Good leaders focus also on the behaviors that will get the results. And great leaders focus, in addition, on the emotions that will drive these behaviors. One emotion that shapes our behavior is anger, and Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday we commemorate today, knew of the power that came packed in this emotion.”
Dr. Martin Luther King was provoked time and time again, not only by being physically attacked and threatened, but by being harassed and even vilified by fellow black leaders.
Wadhwa says that “great leaders often have a strong capacity to experience anger” but that they “also know the downside of anger, and wage a firm battle to tame it within themselves.”
He concludes his article by stating “Great leaders do not ignore their anger, nor do they allow themselves to get consumed by it. Instead, they channel the emotion into energy, commitment, sacrifice, and purpose. They use it to step up their game. And they infuse people around them with this form of constructive anger so they, too, can be infused with energy commitment, sacrifice and purpose.”