Lessons in Leadership

January 10, 2017 | Culture & Community, Diversity & Inclusion, Employee Engagement, Organizational Culture

A new year is here, and with it comes renewed hope for change and progress. So it seems fitting that it is at this time of year that we also observe the birthday of one of the most transformative forces imaginable, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King’s approach to leadership inspires me in my work and in my mission to create a vibrant and engaging culture at TMI.

Inspiring and insightful, Dr. King stood at the helm of a mighty movement whose strength flowed from its embrace of – rather than dominance over – the overlooked and disenfranchised. Committed to the ideal of making the world a better place for the whole human family, he led with grace, compassion, and the belief that we could reach our greatest potential as a society only when we join hands with our most vulnerable neighbors.

In cultivating my organization, I find myself drawing heavily from this model of inclusive leadership.

I’ve also been greatly influenced by a fascinating book called The Wisdom of Crowds, in which James Surowiecki offers compelling evidence of the merits of collective intelligence. A diverse group, he argues, will reach far better conclusions than even the most impressively credentialed individual could achieve alone.

This notion that a cross-section of society — representing a range of intellects, experience, educational levels, and areas of expertise – will almost magically arrive at the best possible solutions speaks volumes to me about how leaders can most effectively guide communities through challenges. Each voice, given the chance to be heard and considered, will help navigate and correct our course toward better tomorrows.

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”

These words, among those Dr. King exclaimed upon accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, resonate today as boldly as they did the day he first shared them.

Strong leaders don’t give us the answers.

They remind us to look to ourselves and each other to understand the best way forward. And – in the spirit of Dr. King — they reinforce our faith in the collective wisdom and goodness that will ultimately prevail.

Happy New Year!