Many regard Nelson Mandela has a great leader. He was a man who had a passion to see his country succeed and he wanted equality for all of his nation’s people. Some may not agree with some of the actions that Mandela took in order to find his eventual success, but his strive and desire to effect change in South Africa has many lessons from which there are learning opportunities. Here are 6 lessons that are inspired by Mandela’s leadership traits.
#1. Roll Up Your Sleeves
Mandela did more than just inspire people with eloquent words. He was willing to roll up his sleeves and do the “dirty” work that needed to be done at any given moment. As a leader, if you’re willing to stand on the front lines with your people, then you will give them courage. You will inspire them to be better, give them hope, and a desire to follow you.
#2. Forgive Quickly and Often
It’s easy to hold a grudge, but a chip on a shoulder never got anything done. Mandela had every right to resent the actions that his government was taking against him. Not only was society itself holding him back, but he was imprisoned for 27 years in a location many wouldn’t want their worst enemy placed. His ability to forgive and find the common ground helped everyone in his country eventually build a bridge of love.
#3. Without Plans, Any Idea Will Fail
There must be some sort of plan in place that will help you and your team achieve your goals. It doesn’t have to be ultra-detailed or outlined in a binder that is distributed to every work station. A plan simply needs to be an organized set of ideas that is well communicated so that everyone can be on the same page and working toward a team goal instead of individual goals.
#4. Let People Get on the Bus
When you’ve got a good plan in place, people will naturally want to join you. Some leaders have the philosophy that you either get on the bus or let the bus run you over, but that’s not Mandela’s style. His goal was to have everyone get on board with a great idea whenever they were ready. Instead of leaving a pile of bodies behind the bus, Mandela offered a helping hand and if people were willing to take it, then he was willing to work with them.
#5. Always Communicate
Without open lines of communication, it is impossible to succeed. Communication is what builds a team. Silence is what builds up individuals! It isn’t just words that are spoken in a person-to-person conversation either. Body language speaks more volumes than words can ever say.
#6. Keep an Open Mind
People come from different backgrounds and cultures, which means there is a unique perspective to be offered. Ideologies can help drive people toward success and even define them on an individual level, but that’s where it should stay. Mandela understood this, respected that differences made a team stronger, not weaker, and built relationships with everyone so that an overall goal could be achieved.