Leadership lessons from Mandela

After our trip to Robbens Island I was interested to learn more about Nelson Mandela, and how he inspired a nation and brought forward reconciliation. Luckily I had my Kindle and was able to down load some extra books to read.

Sammons-Carpenter and Coyle have reflected on Nelson Mandela’s life and have drawn 6 lessons for leaders, which work just as well in an organisation’s work environment:

  • Prepare with discipline – Mandela was both thorough and methodical in his approach and used all opportunities available – do you?
  • Never dictate – guide people to consensus – Let everyone have their say and manoeuvre people to the solution which seems the best, it may not be yours!
  • Lead from the front and behind – be a figurehead and inspire when it counts, but also be prepared to push gently from the rear. Persuade people to do things and let them think it was their idea
  • Expect the best of your people but be realistic – Recognise that people act in their own interests but believe they want to do good.
  • Know your enemy – Learn to see the other side and know their thoughts (keep your enemy close)
  • Above all be pragmatic Be flexible in pursuing your goal – keep it in mind but don’t insist on points of principle that don’t matter in the end


Nelson Mandela’s bust at the information centre in Cape Town, en route to Robben island.

Find out more from Judith Sunley at www.JudithSunleyCoaching.com and check out my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jas1955.


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