Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela

The passing of Nelson Mandela ignited a worldwide outpouring of love, respect and admiration for one of the most compelling figures of the past several decades. As the reality of his death settled in our spirits we were reminded that never again in our lifetimes would we witness a leader so special as this giant of a man who was largely responsible for the demise of a relentless system of unparalleled racial oppression and bias in South Africa. As we watched his imprisonment for over 27 years our hearts welcomed him as the ideal of what an effective leader looks like in a crisis atmosphere .
Now that he is no longer with us I have reflected on a few of his leadership qualities that captured our minds and refreshed our faith in humankind. Here are my reflections ;
1. We are encouraged greatly when we actually see for ourselves the very best in a human being that gives life and meaning to the endless stream of expert theories about leadership.
2. A demonstration of boundless sacrifice for others is spellbinding and comforting to see in a leader.
3. We seldom if ever see a leader discard anger, resentment, revenge, and raw power as tools of the trade. He did .
4. As leaders if we live out principled core values in our journey there is a powerful force of persuasion that spreads far and wide.
5. While we have all studied leadership and what succeeds or fails ; we react with uncommon devotion and emotion to the qualities of Nelson Mandela because they are so rarely found in our leaders.
6. A leader can use her/his authenticity, transparency and humility to do transformative things.
7. Leadership in the 21st. century will look more like the awesome example of Nelson Mandela and less like the top down methods of the 20 century.

3 responses to “Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela

  1. Thought provoking…leadership today is self serving. Nelson Mandela was a natural born leader to serve humanity. Thanks


  2. I appreciate your thoughts on this giant of a servant leader. His gift and his impact on the world, not to mention his home and his people, testify of the power of the core values you mentioned. When we are willing to pay the price for humble authenticity, a true walk of love with all people, we find that not only are we restored to freedom at every level, those around us, near and far, benefit greatly. I am grateful for his journey and his willingness to share it with us.