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Historical figures: Nelson Mandela & leadership

Historical figures: Nelson Mandela & leadership


« It still seems impossible until it is done. » N. Mandela


3R Consultants has decided to introduce you to Nelson Mandela “Madiba” today. He is a world icon who has fought for freedom throughout his life. He demonstrated a great ability to empower, motivate, inspire and influence others… He was also very humble and did not hesitate to question himself. These are essential values for us and we want to transmit them to our staff.

Several years ago, Time magazine published an article containing “Nelson Mandela’s 8 leadership lessons”.  He is a perfect model of selfless leadership, that is, he based it on generosity of spirit, authenticity and moral authority.

Mandela did not develop his leadership on his own, he developed it in part with Jongintaba, the tribal chief who raised him. This wise man only spoke out after receiving the men and listening to each other’s points of view.

Whatever you want, thinking about it or talking about it is not enough. Your future depends only on your leadership, and Madiba understood that well. Many leaders still draw inspiration from his proven leadership in the past. Barack Obama, for example, had even received advice from a psychology professor to take inspiration from N. Mandela…


Nelson Mandela’s 8 leadership lessons are as follows:


1 – Courage is not the absence of fear – it is inspiring others to overcome it.

2 – Steer from the front – but never leave your base behind.

3 – Lead from behind – and let others believe they are at the front

4 – Know your enemy and know his favorite sport. (Learn to speak his language)

5 – Keep your friends close to you – and your rivals even closer.

6 – Take care of your appearance – and don’t forget to smile.

7 – Nothing is black or white.

8- Leaving is also leading


Nelson Mandela also had a strong sense of persuasion. He was able to seduce the Afrikaners by learning their language, their culture and by appropriating the rules of their game, the rugby. Then he persuaded the blacks and Afrikaaners that they had a common base: Africa. This is how he was able to start negotiations with the segregationist government in 1985.

Throughout his “nuanced” career, whether in prison or during his term as South African President, Mandela has always shown great humility, generosity and positive influence on others. From a very young age, he was brought to lead, and his first leadership lesson he learned by leading his cattle breeding.

“When you want the herd to move in a certain direction, you stand at the back with a stick. Then some of the most energetic animals will move forward and the rest of the cattle will follow. You really need to guide them from behind. That’s how a leader has to do his job.”

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