Servant Leadership Style: Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr.

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This article is about two legendary leaders who were responsible for great evolution in the society they lived in and for whom they worked. I will explain leadership characteristics, differences and similarities both the ideals held in themselves. Also, we will discuss about their influence on this world and the footprints they left. I will talk about Mother Teresa who is the icon of love and care and Martin Luther King Jr. who represents raising voice against injustice and treating human as a human and not an object.

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Mother Teresa is an ideal example of situational leadership which focuses on being relation oriented. Situational leader is a person who helps followers according to the situation. She provided amenities to people as per their situation. This is a leadership where leaders adapt to change according to and for followers. She was very organized and determined of her serving and helping people. She believed in letting actions make noise louder than her words. Despite of criticism she never moved away from her path of being humanitarian. Her traits of adaptability, determination, inspirational, authenticity and strong vision made her most charismatic, transformational and effective leader.

In the other corner of the world existed Martin Luther King Jr. who had immense power in his words and charisma to make millions of people follow him and win his battle against equality. Dr. King also followed a transformational leadership style. Dr. King was a very good and intelligent speaker who was able to communicate his vision very clearly and inspire people to walk with him. His powerful trait was ‘Empathy’ towards his followers. He had a strong compassion for feelings and situations his people were suffering from and would always be non-judgmental about them. By stepping in their shoes he personally experienced their sufferings and problems and this helped him in making better decisions for them. His parental and easy to reach out nature made him most effective personality amongst his people.

Despite of death 22 years ago, Mother Teresa is still alive in the hearts of people. She proved to be symbol of love and humanity which still influences world. In 1950, she endowed a group of people for philanthropic work. Initially, it had only 12 nuns working for it. By 2012, the group expanded to such extent that it had more than 4500 priests, monks and sisters working over 133 countries. Mother Teresa transformed the charity act into compassionate sense where penurious were treated with respect and dignity. Her selfless love influenced her followers positively with a thought that there are many who will work for rich but there is no one to take care of needy people. She touched the heart of everyone ranging from film stars, politicians to common people with her positive and pure soul.

Practicing solitude towards his followers, Martin Luther King Jr. was always very close to heart of people. For nearly every black people he had been a leader. He taught people to stand for justice and for what is right. Through his guidelines Dr. King made people love each other for being human regardless of race, color, caste and creed. He brought sense of equality in the people regarding living, jobs, housing and stop treating humans as objects.

Mother Teresa will always be remembered for her humanitarian nature, care and unconditioned love for all especially for needy and penurious. She treated everyone with equality. She found a group named ‘Missionary Of Charity’ in 1950 of nuns, sisters, and all people who are willing to help selflessly. This mission got expanded towards orphanages and hospitals. She was granted awards like ‘Nobel Peace Prize’, ‘Bharat Ratna’ etc. Also, she was canonized as Saint Teresa on 4 September 2016 in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

On the other hand, major role of Martin Luther King in bus boycott, Montgomery made him central figure civil rights movement. This made him immortal in history. He inspired people to raise voice against injustice and fight for the right thing without waiting for time to be right. He was also awarded with ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ for his work.

Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King were similar on the page of working for people selflessly. They were lenient about their philanthropic work. They planted feeling of equality among people and spread word that it was wrong to become racist and judge anyone just because they are different than others.

Talking about the differences, Martin Luther King stood for freedom of his people. Also, he was victim of racism for which he fought. But, on the other hand, Mother Teresa by herself left her family and well loved life and stood up for poor people even though she wasn’t one of them. Martin Luther King never accepted the world around him as it is and rose against injustice to make it better place to live for him and his people. Whereas, Mother believed the poverty lots is given by Christ and took steps to help needy people.

Mission executed by Mother Teresa was never anyway related to any political or economic change. Whereas, Martin Luther Kings’ fight against racism brought about historical and political change.

According to my opinion, both of them illustrate Servant leadership. Both of them worked for people served them with what is better for them to change their situation to improvised one.

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