By Al Mozingo
About the author -
Al Mozingo is a nationally recognized leadership instructor and
a 30-year veteran of the Fire Service. Mr. Mozingo’s teaches
for the National Fire Academy, State Fire Training, and Local Fire
Academy. He has a wide range of programs available for Fire Service
Organizations. In addition, he has a book available entitled “The
Principles of Leadership.” You can contact him to present
a leadership program at your location today: www.firemanager.com
Mr. Mozingo' teaching experience includes: working with children
and adults within the Church including, First Communion, Confirmation,
RCIA, and Bible Studies. In addition, I am a Certified Youth Minister,
a member of the choir, a member of the Knights of Columbus, and
The principles of leadership can be taught to a student of leadership
in many different formats. One can study the characteristics of a great
leader or study the behavior and actions of other great leaders. To take
a class, read a book, attend a seminar, or read an article about the subject
matter are other methods of gaining knowledge and insight into the leadership.
This particular article will describe leadership principles in a different
way. It will present a story to show pragmatically the lessons of the
principles of leadership. Putting the principles into actual practical
use, by one’s own action, is where the “tire meets the road.”
This little story was in a book entitled, Virtues of Leadership, by William
In January 1956, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., left his home to attend
a meeting at a nearby church. During the meeting someone came into the
church with news for King; “Your home has been bombed.” Rev.
King upset and anxious, especially because his wife and baby were in the
house at the time of the bombing in Montgomery, Alabama.
As King rushed home, he found a large number of people in the house.
The bomb had actually exploded on his front porch raining glass into the
living room. After checking on his wife and daughter he turn attention
to the angry crowd.
People who gathered outside of the house wanted revenge against whoever
had done this terrible act. Some of them were actually carrying guns and
were shouting at the police. The situation was about to turn to chaos
and become violent. He told the crowd in a calm voice that his wife and
child were fine.
Silence had fallen over the crowd as he began to speak to them. He indicated
to the crowd that violence was not the answer. He explained that violence
would harm their cause, it would not solve their problems. As of matter
of fact, it would make it worst. He indicated that the teachings of the
Bible: “We must meet hate with love.” He told them, to put
down their weapons and to go home.
The crowd’s demeanor started to change. People began to become
calm and some said “Amen” and others said “God Bless
You.” At a moment of chaos and anger, Rev. King seized the moment
to show true leadership. The crowd responded to this and started to drift
apart and go home. As events unfolded, photographs were being taken and
the next morning newspapers across the country ran the photos on the front
page. The Civil Rights Movement began to swell; this was a turning point
in history! Under pressure a great man put personal virtues into action
in the form of true leadership.
Rev. King’s virtues included courage, wisdom, and faith. He had
a certain vision and the talent to progress that vision forward with leadership.
His virtues also included compassion, perseverance, and love. We all should
strive to have these virtues, character and traits as our own. These virtues
will allow us to operate with a calm clear mind under pressure. They will
assist in guiding us in areas of moral and ethical situations. One of
the great principles of leadership is ones own character. The virtues
Rev. King exhibited that day were:
William J. Bennett, The Book of Virtues, W Publishing Group, a Division
of Thomas Nelson, In., Nashville, Tennesse
© Al Mozingo - Used with permission.