You may be wondering what Martin Luther King has to do with you as a leader. My own experience with leadership and controversy is that it's always good to have a model in your head of effective leaders, especially during conflict. As MLK said in one of my favorite quotes:
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
A few years ago, I had an opportunity to visit the Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham, Alabama. One of the exhibits there is the actual jail cell that MLK occupied after he was arrested during the march in Birmingham. The marchers had requested a permit but had been denied one. When MLK protested, the city fathers - especially other Christian ministers - told him they should wait. In response he stated that they "had been waiting for 200 years."
"It's always good to have a model in your head of effective leaders,
especially during conflict."
After he was jailed, he wrote a letter to those leaders responding to their criticism. I don't know about you, but if I were in jail, I'd probably be crying for my mother rather than trying to communicate with those who had been responsible for my arrest.
While there, I sat on the bed in the jail cell and put my hands on the bars. You can listen to his reading of his famous Letter From a Birmingham Jail on a headset and it feels as if the bars are vibrating with his voice. I felt chills.
My experience is that models such as this always help us in times of "challenge and controversy."