Looking at the leadership effectiveness of arguably one of the most influential leaders of all time, the great Nelson Mandela. Even after death, the legacy of Nelson Mandela, who was affectionately dubbed, Madiba, still resonates.
While there are so many lasting examples of his leadership, here are a few of the things that made Madiba a successful leader?
Madiba invited followers, he was an inspiration by being the person he called others to be. Madiba was able to really connect with the people. Not because he was perfect, he is quoted as saying “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying”. He used his warmth, courage and human fallibility, not thinking he was better than anyone else to unite the people in a shared vision. Madiba truly believed that standing up for and empowering the people was key. Understanding the peoples wish for freedom and democracy, Madiba painted such a clear vision of what the country would be with out segregation, discrimination and bigotry that his followers felt empowered to take the necessary measures to achieve this common goal. Most importantly, Madiba spoke with sincerity from his heart and never missed an opportunity to communicate with the people.
Madiba lived his purpose, using vision and noble principles as his guide to stay the course. Upon his release from prison, Madiba put a firm stance on his democratic behaviour right out of the gate, reportedly turning down a million dollar offer for an interview, stating that he had been freed by the people and therefore liberation was for everyone.
Even after being imprisoned for 27 years. Madiba understood that letting go of bitterness and hatred and embracing forgiveness was the best way to move forward with his purpose. He focused on community and took true delight from the people and his pleasure was infectious.
Madiba’s humanitarianism, does not take away from the fact that his political leadership style was shrewd and calculated to achieve everything he did in support of the people. When it came to politics, Madiba understood the need to compromise in the name of advancing a South Africa that was governed by South Africans. Without a doubt South Africa and the world would be a much different place without the influence of Nelson Mandela.
We don’t need to go to prison or stop an apartheid to live our lives as strong leaders. We can learn from the leaders of the past and the actions, thoughts and attitudes that made them great leaders!