Nelson Mandela – A Leader Who Followed

The book, “Long Walk to Freedom,” is the autobiography of
Nelson Mandela’s odyssey from apartheid to leading his

One of the many valuable management lessons in this book
is the message that leaders need to commit themselves
to helping “people to live their lives with dignity and

Mandela’s leadership style reflected this lesson. His
leadership was respectful in that he exemplified the
“leader who follows” concept.

Mandela lead from ¬behind by encouraging consensual
strategies. Fundamentally, Mandela rejected the
“great man” ¬approach and stressed his role as one
among many great men and women.

HR POINTER: The idea of helping employees lead lives of
dignity and self-respect is fundamental to establishing an
organizational culture that competitors can’t duplicate.

Within our businesses, the lessons in Mandela’s book can
help us involve personnel in aspects of decision-making
that can be mutually empowering.

The process of involving employees in certain decisions
about work helps to show them the value of their work and
the dignity of the work itself.

A constant theme in Mandela’s book is the sense of
belonging to a greater whole and the desire to better the
lives of others.


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