Martin Luther King, Margaret Thatcher, Gandhi and Mother Theresa are just some of the leaders who have left their mark on the world. From self-improvement books, to seminars and training, people who want to change the world are always looking for leadership advice. Many times, becoming a leader isn’t about memorizing a speech or making a public appearance. Game changers like excelling executives and societal peace-keepers who truly make their mark on the world do so through displaying important qualities in extraordinary ways and leading by example.
Nelson Mandela is one such individual whose life and qualities have changed the hearts of men around the world. Having survived trials in love, politics and civil rights, his choices have paved the way for a new and better world. Below are some of his leadership qualities that leaders would do well to emulate.
Thirst for Knowledge – Anyone who would attempt to downscale the importance of education in a disagreement with Nelson Mandela, would be in for a loss. Mandela attended six higher education institutions including the University of South Africa (1943), Healdtown Comprehensive School, University of Fort Hare, University of the Witwatersrand, University of London International Programmes, and the University of London. Like any other leader in the history books, Mandela’s education was his inspiration and his handbook. Learning how far humanity has come is motivation to push and see how great society could one day be. Education provides a better understanding of ideas and people. In Mandela’s own words “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Resistance to Conformity – Nelson Mandela has made unexpected decisions from the start, in both his personal and political life. Mandela said no to the prospect of a forced arranged marriage and moved to Johannesburg in 1939. Despite living in a highly repressive culture, Mandela opened a legal firm serving black clients in 1952. Of course, he is best known for his Nobel Peace Prize awarded for efforts to end apartheid in South Africa and becoming the first democratically elected president of South Africa. In short, Mandela builds new roads; he doesn’t simply stick to the easy path most would follow.
Embracing Sacrifice – Those who have suffered are often those who truly make an impactful difference in the hearts and minds of men. Nelson Mandela endured danger and time in prison in order to achieve freedom for his country. Beyond that, he has dedicated his life to speaking about the importance of equality. His decisions put him in the public eye. Though many would view fame as a wonderful thing, it comes with lack of privacy and great responsibility, which Mandela was willing to take on. Even to the extent of giving up his role as President, purely so he could speak and fight for people’s rights around the world; Mandela has made many sacrifices.
There is always room for growth and improvement in the world, and daily life. It is the individuals who desire continuous growth, treasure knowledge and refuse to accept injustice that change lives. Be it a co-worker, a family member or an entire company, every person has opportunities to positively influence others in their life. Everyone has the ability to lead, if only they utilize available leadership tools and choose to believe.
Center for Work Life of Orlando, Florida is an award-winning executive development firm providing leadership and management training to executives and organizations. Our main services include executive coaching, leadership development, executive succession planning, emotional intelligence training, career planning, staff development, and communication in the workplace.