How do great leaders inspire us?

We recently said goodbye to one of the 20th century’s great leaders, Nelson Mandala passed away on the 5th December, 2013.  His passing marks the end of an era, South Africans will remember him as the father of the nation, who brought an end to apartheid and delivered the nation from the brink of civil war. He won admiration around the world when he preached reconciliation after being freed from almost three decades of imprisonment. He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of reconciliation and forgiveness which has inspired so many people and will continue to do so.

How do leaders inspire us?

When looking at developing your leadership skills we can learn so much from great leaders. This Mandala quote sums up how I choose to truly live my life:

nelson mandala


Which great leaders have inspired you and what are their qualities? Great leaders have the ability to inspire people to greatness, to help them achieve the impossible. Leaders have passion and vision and are able to communicate that passion and vision so others can feel passionate, too. It’s important to inspire others with words and actions, teach others by example. If you do it, they will follow.

Mandala was put in jail by a brutal regime for 27 years simply because he was fighting for fairness and equality. On his release instead of looking for revenge he became a stronger leader, never becoming bitter. He found common ground, embracing those who were once against him and helping the country bridge a seemingly impossible gap.

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.

Find willing people to work with. Most of us have gotten caught up at least once in the emotional roller-coaster that is wanting to work with or help someone who has the talent, the potential or the need, even if that person is unwilling or incapable. Move on from those that don’t want to do or be where you want them to do or be. And don’t carry their burden. Let them go through their journey and spend your time and energy looking for like-minded people who you can partner with.

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.