Robert Kennedy shows incredible leadership in taking immediate steps to guide the nation moments after receiving the devastating news of Martin Luther King’s assassination. Delivering his quickly formulated speech on top of a flatbed truck he was able to influence the nation to turn away from revenge that seemed so naturally plausible at the time. He ends his speech with:
“Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”
Leadership lessons from his example are:
1. Take the risk when the message demands it
Robert Kennedy disregarded fear driven concerns over his safety. The outcome, peace and unity, was worth the personal risk.
2. Lead fast when people are hurting
Hurt is a strong behavioral changing force. It can turn decent men into violent ones and it can turn violent men into accepting a level of peace. By acting quickly, formulating a message of peace and motivating for unity, Robert Kennedy was able to influence masses into choosing a path of common prosperity.