Crash course in politics from Nelson Mandela
As many in the world pray for Nelson Mandela in his worsening conditions, there is also a cause for reflection on the Anti-apartheid hero’s legacy and what it means to us now. This is especially true as Americans search for their voice and how they can influence change in a system that may seem broken, blind, or incompetent at times. Mandela’s story gives us hope and reason for political perseverance especially in today’s society where our values and morals are now in question. Leadership is first and foremost stewardship:
Be Invested Mandela was invested. His heart was with his people and his goal was to make South Africa about the people again. We talk about a broken government and how there is a a stale-mate in congress often. Nelson Mandela was a people’s person and was more focused on creating unity than passing on his own agenda.
Master Your Emotions This is what really made him shine as a president and lawyer. He was able to master his emotions and prove that he really had the people’s concerns at heart. He learned to master himself while stuck in a small prison and left there with guards who hated him and wanted to make his life miserable. He had a choice to make there and he was patient with them and knew that he could become a better person.
Be a Gracious Winner Nelson Mandela was always a gracious winner and knew how to even get the losers on his side. It takes a formidable leader to be able to do that. He was also able to shift perspectives and promote change by creating “connectors” that would unite the country. He used rugby to bring people together, to rally for a cause that would help them forget about some of their troubles. “I believe that in the end that it is kindness and accommodation that are the catalysts for real change.” This was one of Nelson Mandela’s philosophies as a leader and he truly lived
by it. One example of his kindness and accommodating persona was his ability to make everyone around him feel bigger. Security advisors, staff, everyone and anyone who talked to him felt a special feeling of empowerment.
Look to the Future His focus was on the here and now but he also kept in mind the future generations that needed his help. He wanted South African projects to be sustainable. He wanted the population to take ownership and move forward on the grounds that one day, south Africa would better. He truly brought change to an environment steeped in social prejudice. As individuals seek to become viable leaders it is important to remember that the people below you need not only your leadership, but your kindness and friendship. This is a very important concept that promotes change and unity. If you are from Boise and looking to improve your leadership skills it may be beneficial to look at a leadership degree in Boise where you can really study out and apply different aspects of leadership. Photo Credit: Victoria Peckham, Archives de la villa de montreal