The legacy of Nelson Mandela

The legacy of Nelson Mandela lives on in the hearts of global communities, who find inspiration and hope in his way of life and way of leading the country. 

We can reflect on some of the things he taught us about leadership and change.

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Madiba Leadership: 5 Lessons Nelson Mandela Taught The World About Change

forbes.com

When you engage in a noble cause, you become energised and passionate. That passion fuels perseverance.

Opposed to the policies of his country's white minority government, Madiba was instrumental in the action against apartheid in South Africa that caused him to be imprisoned for 27 years. However, he emerged from incarceration and became South Africa's first black president.

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Expect change to be messy

Innovation and change is rarely a neat path. Pushing for change often leads to sacrifice and difficulty. But just because it is difficult does not mean that what you are working on is not right. 

Mandela was a partner in the only black-run law firm in South Africa. The company was overwhelmed by aggrieved clients demanding compensation for the government's actions against non-whites. Mandela could have created a comfortable life for himself, but instead focused on making a worthwhile change.

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When Mandela was released from prison, former president Bill Clinton of the United States observed the anger and hatred on Mandela's face as he walked from his cellblock to the front of the prison. Then in a moment, Mandela's rage seemed to vanish.

Madiba taught us that at some point in our lives, we are all victims of something. But, we don't have to be victims of our past. We can let go of our bitterness and achieve greatness.

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In marriage, social justice or business, you can focus your energy on being right or ending right. Being right is often about our ego and focuses on the past. Ending right is about the future and what you want to achieve.

Nelson Mandela vehemently fought for what he believed in, but he was not willing to humiliate the opposition. He stated that "no one is more dangerous than one who is humiliated." To be successful in a relationship of any kind requires the ability to let all sides gain.

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Change begins from the inside-out

Madiba learned through his years in imprisonment to look in the mirror and create within himself that which he most wanted for South Africa: peace, reconciliation, equality, harmony and freedom.

Self-awareness is a good leadership skill. Madiba understood that leading his nation into a peaceful democracy meant that he had to be the change.

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nelson mandela

A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial and uninformed.

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