Nelson Mandela is one of the African leaders who have achieved almost universal respect around the globe and across the political spectrum. He had displayed a lot of intellectual integrity, commitment, and empathy in his leadership. According to him, leadership is a commitment to democracy and freedom. He defines great leaders as those who integrate authority they attain from their positions to give a positive impact to the society. His aim was to motivate, integrate and mobilize people to bring a joint aspiration to life. For instance, Mandela demonstrated this by being imprisoned for 27 years while fighting for the rights of the South African citizens against apartheid rule (Mandela, 1973, p. 5).
How Mandela models his leadership
Mandela was a leader of his own and a man of a high degree of charisma; he had the ability to stir the crowd while sharing the logics behind human rights and obligations. He was for peace and enhances the high degree of forgiveness. He was one who had both cognitive and diagnostic skills which enable him to see problems and find an immediate remedy. He was an anticipated leader who saw the apartheid looming and determines its end by strategically organizing moves that made South Africa great again after a long period of misery and segregation. He further modeled his type of leadership by challenging situations and standing for what he believes is right. In prison, he did stand out as a man who bargains for his rights, principles, dignity and was willing to sacrifice his life to defend his beliefs and values. (Etoundi, 2011, p. 23) Despite the harsh treatment experienced from prison, He still found guts to challenge his keepers. Through is deeds, words, and symbols, he challenged the systems which were denying the South Africans liberty and freedoms. In his journey to freedom, he proved a high level of learning and interpretation of unfolding events both from South Africa and the neighboring countries. For instance, He studied the mistakes made by Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe as far as leadership is concerned and decided to follow his footsteps through enhancing racial harmony. That is, sharing the political powers and forgiving without forgetting. He demonstrated the action of generosity to the oppressors by inviting his gatekeepers to the presidential swearing-in ceremony. He had the command of decision-making and problem-solving techniques. During the mass demonstration over the assassination of Chris Hani in 1993, as a peaceful man, he had the guts of calling for a truce when the whole society wants to revenge against the white oppressors. The action taken by him shows how his leadership was for the good and value of the entire community as oppose to self-gain.
An inspiring vision
Nelson Mandela was a transformational leader who was up to inspire his followers to achieve extraordinary outcomes. Through his personality and vision, he had transformed the lives of South African citizens from apartheid rule to life full of liberty, peace and harmony. In his fight for leadership, Mandela remained to be an inspiring leader by expressing an appealing vision, focusing efforts and behave in a way that motivates and give hope of a better future to the followers. He managed to inspire the ANC to follow his visionary agenda which leads to the campaign of equal rights. Besides, while in prison, Mandela still had an opportunity to communicate his vision to the people against the social segregation and end of apartheid rule in the South African lands. After a release from Jail in the 1990s he was able to advocate for peace deals and ensure that fairness is achieved through the battle of wits but not violence and application of undue influence. Moreover, He had a supportive behavior which was focusing on showing concerns on the needs of the followers and hence assist and made them develop in a manner that helps them achieve the set objectives. He had an idealized influence backed by intellectual stimulation. He managed this by shedding to the followers and government creative thoughts which enable the ANC members to realize that the decision they made would have lead South Africa out of misery to freedom. His behavior and action as a leader inspired the then generation and millennial generations to come. His early retirement is a lesson to the upcoming professionals not to be afraid of retirement that knows that any good can be done at any point in one's career. It teaches people to serve whether they are getting recognition for the good things they do or not. Besides, it reminds people of every season of life which should be maximized as opposed to clinging to one season while abandoning other seasons. It was, therefore, a council against clinging to stay in the comfort zone.
Opportunities that may involve risk taking
There are certain times that the decision we make now influence what will happen in the future. Mandela came to realize that the fabrics of South African freedom are woven from the minor decisions he had to make. During times of strife and miseries, Mandela chooses collaboration as oppose to retribution. He did recognize that reprisal always deepens divide while collaboration restores and heals the old scores (Mandela, 2010, p.13). He argued that collaboration promotes learning and progress while retaliation perpetuates ignorance. Therefore, according to him, collaboration is the hallmark of the current leadership in the entire world. As a great leader, he knows how to listen to ideas and views from different people and leverage them to achieve the set objective. Besides, he understood and embraced the power of forgiving those who have done wrong to him and humbly seek for reconciliation. He also believed that with collaboration, instincts can change nations, markets can be revolutionized, lives can be enriched, and the value of the organizations can be enhanced.
In his quest for liberation, Mandela achieved to reconciled the south African society with the white south Afrikaners, which was a greater milestone in Mandela's leadership and political career. Proper unification was brought after the formation of truth justice and reconciliation commission headed by Desmond Tutu. He observed the constitution and ensured that the society was not divided but remained as one unit. The actions and behaviors of Mandela toward constitution and rule of law made various communities in South Africa to have a sense of belonging and enjoy the newly created environment full of peace, harmony and love.
Personality, contribution to the society and effort recognition
Mandelas personality was primary in determining what was to be done at times of political turmoil in south Africa. In his leadership path for freedom, Mandela personally involved in the struggle by serving in jail for 27 years. His movement from Robbens Island, Pollsmors prison, Victor Versters prison and an attack by tuberculosis disease reveals how Mandela had the people's wellbeing at heart. He led the negotiation between ANC and the government which resulted in the adoption of the interim constitution in 1993.At Rivonia, Mandela joined other leaders like Raymond Mhlaba, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Walter Sisulu and Wilton Mkwayi for the planning a coup de ta against the ruling government and after the police raid, they suffered the consequences together without assign of betrayal (Stengel, 2010, p. 16). Amidst numerous challenges which Mandela did face along his leadership era, there were also myriad opportunities embedded in them. He got a chance to serve as the first black African president. Besides, he delivered the South African people against apartheid oppression and enabled them to make a decision and attend to what their heart desires without discrimination and segregation.
In his life as a leader, the contribution of others was his key agenda since he realized that he cannot make it without the support and action of others. He was always advocating for his followers to work as a unit and hence achieve the set objectives. For instance, in his final year in prison, the younger community activists like Jack Mkhuseli who participated in the fight for liberations by organizing boycotts, public protests and strikes were critical in the struggle for freedom. He was recognized by Mandela as the driver to liberation at the time he was in prison. Generally, Mandela further recognizes the efforts other liberation fighters at every point of leadership before and even after independence. Thus a leaders, we should embrace integrity, be tenacious, visionary and embracing for values which are of good to the general society.
I chose Mandela because of his strategic leadership style. He is a leader who held no bitterness to the oppressors and the government; he did not strive to seek revenge after he had achieved his objective, he was not for self-glory like others do and did not hide his faults and failures. Also, he was up for perpetuating harmony curtailed with peace amidst all the miseries and agony he was facing during the struggle for liberty. Indeed, his perseverance, dedication, and commitment to his principles, visions and beliefs have brought life to the South Africans and the entire world. Moreover, his strategies which include to encourage racial harmony, power sharing, the focus for the future and not the past and forgiving without forgetting are values which can motivate people to live in peace in the society and embrace handwork as they focus on the future and not agonizing and lamenting over the consequences of the past. Therefore in the political arena, Mandela deserves to own a global respect for his moral trait he displayed in leadership. Leaders, especially from most African countries, should emulate his character and let the office vacant for the young to get opportunities of developing themselves as well as the society.
Alden, C., Le, P. G., & International Institute for Strategic Studies. (2003). South Africa's post-apartheid foreign policy: From reconciliation to revival? Oxford: Oxford University Press for the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Alexander, L. M., & Rucker, W. C. (2010). Encyclopedia of African American history. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Etoundi, N. M. (2011). Mandela, the leader model for the XXIst century. Paris: L'Harmattan.
Mandela, N. (1973). No easy walk to freedom: Articles, speeches and trial addresses of Nelson Mandela. London: Heinemann Educational.
Mandela, N. (2010). Conversations with myself. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Mandela, N., & Nelson Mandela Foundation. (2006). A prisoner in the garden: The Nelson Mandela Foundation. New York: Viking Studio.
Stengel, R. (2010). Mandela's way: Lessons in life. Bath: Windsor.
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