If you were to compile a list of the most charismatic figures in recent American history, Martin Luther King Jr. would probably be on that list. He was well-known for his speaking skills, his personality and his commitment to affecting positive change for millions of people.
MLK Jr. used a charismatic leadership and oratory style that PULLED people to him. And now every year on the 3rd Monday in January, we celebrate his birthday as a way to honor his work and memory.
If we contrast this with the complete opposite--a PUSH style (ex. a dictator who may be an accomplished orator but who pushes people to do what he/she wants through fear, force, etc.), which bond (between leader and public) do you think is stronger?
This subject reminds me of one of my favorite childhood fables related to this important leadership lesson:
The North Wind & the Sun
The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak.
"Let us agree," said the Sun, "that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak."
"Very well," growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the Traveler.
With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler's body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.
Then the Sun began to shine. At first his beams were gentle, and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from his shoulders. The Sun's rays grew warmer and warmer. The man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak, and, to escape the blazing sunshine, threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by the roadside.
The moral of this fable is: Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail.
(See the full, beautifully-illustrated version in the Library of Congress here.)
I hope this inspires you to consider whether you are pushing others into or pulling them toward YOUR dream!
Ashley Orlando is a jazz vocalist/ukulele artist and coach who helps growth-focused leaders find their voice, grow their presence & amplify their impact.