With the death of Nelson Mandela, it is not difficult to see the legacy that he leaves behind. Here was a leader who believed in the essential freedom of man from oppression and for these beliefs he was incarcerated in prison for over 27 years: yet upon his release he sought to take no revenge upon those who took away nearly a third of his life.
A Great Statesman
This was a great statesman who had the mental strength to not only survive his unparalleled ordeal but to gain eventual victory over those oppressors who sought unsuccessfully to silence him and the millions he represented.
He was a leader in the true sense of the word; he always remained humble; he stood up for justice; he taught us the power of forgiveness and he showed us that people can be supremely resilient in times of need.
We cannot all be the same as Mandela who was unique in his leadership but we can make a difference, each in our own way. We can find inner strength and fortitude when the going gets tough and we think we cannot go further. The legacy of Mandela is that all human life is valuable and that freedom is the right of all men and their families. Freedom of movement; freedom to learn; freedom to work and freedom to bring up our children. And that one must never relinquish one’s goals: never give up. In South Africa, a persecuted majority overcame extraordinary obstacles and also institutionalized violence, over many years, by exploiting the power of international condemnation of a clearly inhuman and immoral regime that relegated a whole indigenous people to second class citizenship.
Mandela taught us the immense importance of reconciliation and forgiveness. There will always be differences of opinion, that is human nature. But it is when one opinion is forced upon another that society breaks down. Arguments will always occur, whether at home or at work because there will always be those people that we like and those who we don’t. But in the end we all need to live together in a society.
What then will be your legacy that you will pass down to your children?
Leading the Way
I wonder where you think that you are on the leadership scale? You may be a manager, a director, a team leader or possibly self-employed. Whatever your position, if you want to lead and be seen to lead, then you must have the confidence and self-belief that others can recognize as that quality known as leadership: the ability to get others to willingly follow you. However, not everyone is born to lead. Not everyone wants to be a leader. Many of us are more comfortable being a follower and to let others determine the way ahead. That is the natural order of things.
The key point is to exploit your abilities to the maximum: to make the very best of everything that you possess.
At the end of the day, neither you nor I are a Mandela. But we all have that special something inside of us and fortunately we don’t necessarily have to overcome extraordinary adversity in order to find it. For us, it is much easier. For us we can seek, search and find.
If you want to make a difference to others, then you need to identify and then overcome any obstacles. If you want to be a leader of excellence, you can achieve your aim. Everything is within your power but only you can make it happen. You need to be dedicated to your beliefs and passions.
Mandela connected with us – not only in our minds but in our hearts. His leadership style was one of belief, motivation and personal magnetism. He drew people to him.
For me personally, one of my greatest regrets is not having had the opportunity of meeting and shaking the hand of Nelson Mandela during his amazing lifetime. But his vision of freedom is one that I hold dear to me and carry in my heart.
- Society needs both leaders and followers
- Nelson Mandela was an extraordinary leader
- We can all be extraordinary in our own way
Written by Carole Spiers and reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News.
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