Leadership Skills of Influential Black Leaders – Part 2
In celebration of Black History Month, we take time to honor influential Black Leaders who have shaped American history. As we reflect on each leader’s societal and historical impact, we identify their strengths and the behavioral indicators – the building blocks of skills – that we look for when quantifying leadership ability.
Be sure to check out the first blog of this series focused on identified the leadership strengths of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass.
Here, in part two, we celebrate the leadership strengths of Thurgood Marshall, Barack Obama, and Stacey Abrams.
Marshall was a lawyer, civil rights activist, and the first African American Justice to the United States Supreme Court. Marshall won 29 of the 32 cases he argued to the Supreme Court. In his historical 1954 win of Brown v. Board, he relied on psychological, sociological, and historical data to influence the court, ultimately demolishing the legal basis for segregation in America.
|Review available documents to find relevant information. Integrate information from multiples sources to gain novel insight. Base decisions on multiple pieces of information.
|Anticipate people’s reactions to plans and initiatives. Ask targeted questions to identify the underlying problem. Skillfully steer the discussion away from surface issues to underlying problems. Present a solid, logical solution that accurately and fully addresses another’s needs.
In November 2008, Barack Obama made history as the first African American elected president of the United States, serving two terms in office between 2009 and 2017 as the nation’s 44th president. In a memorable January 2008 speech, he took the stage in front of millions of Americas and said, “Yes, We Can”, communicating that with hard work and commitment to hope, progress is possible for the American people. Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people”. He was the fourth U.S. President to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and the first to be awarded within his 1st year of presidency.
|Formulate Concrete Vision
|Formulate a concrete vision of the organization’s future state. Communicate the vision in a vivid way that gets others excited. Create a vision that appeals to followers’ personal values and needs. Set long-term goals that span 3 to 5 years.
|Eliminate Barriers to Change
|Work to eliminate the macro-level barriers to change. Sell people on the benefits of change. Address people’s fears and reluctances. Convince people to take action and ask for agreement on next steps.
Abrams is recognized for her extraordinary efforts to increase voter turn-out ahead of the 2020 election. Abrams helped to register more than 800,000 voters in Georgia which directly helped Biden win the recent presidential election. These voters were pivotal in the ensuing runoff election resulting in Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock securing Georgia’s Senate seats as well as achieving a US Senate controlled by Democrats. Abrams has recently been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her political efforts. She is currently one of the most influential American politicians, being heralded as “the future of the Democratic party”.
|Set bold and audacious goals for self and others. Show a sense of urgency to accomplish desired results. Work with high levels of intensity.
|Build Team Spirit
|Advocate for team cohesion. Establish team-building activities to strengthen cohesion. Suggest procedures and processes to accomplish team goals. Link team’s mission to organization’s strategy.
The accomplishments of these leaders are many – and Dr. King Jr., Tubman, Douglass, Marshall, Obama, and Abrams represent a notable, but very small subset of influential Black Leaders who have transformed our nation.
It is our hope that this glimpse into influential Black Leaders helps you gain a deeper appreciation of the leadership strengths exemplified by these remarkable individuals who have been so important both throughout history and continuing the fight for a fair and equitable future for all Americans.‹ Previous PostNext Post ›