Nelson Mandela’s Leadership
Clint Eastwood’s 2009 Invictus is a must-watch movie that presents Morgan Freeman as the protagonist who strategically assumes a crucial leadership position that is similar to that of Nelson Mandela. Mandela adopted a democratic leadership style in most of his management endeavors. As a democratic leader, he allowed his followers to voice their issues and/or involve them in every step of the decision-making process.
Throughout his battle against apartheid in an effort to bring democracy to South Africa, Mandela adopted a self-governing headship approach where he could set policies through group discussions and decision making, encouraging and helping group members to interact, and requesting the cooperation of others. For instance, from the movie, when he attended the South African games conference, he held discussions with the rugby players where they could deliberate with him concerning their earlier election of team members. Mandela believed in the value of the democratic process. Some of his unsuccessful pursuits included the instance when he tried to have prisoners addressed more respectfully by guards during his imprisonment and later when he attempted to have the national voting age lowered to 14 years so that many citizens could participate in decision-making processes.
Nelson Mandela’s leadership is also considered revolutionary. Through his innovative antics, he successfully organized the fight against racism and apartheid in South Africa. In the movie, he said that anything that did not serve the country was worthless. He preached forgiveness, reconciliation, and love. The skills and prowess of Mandela’s leadership were attained from experiences in his early life. Mandela demonstrated the art of management at a youthful age through the examination of his keeper when he (keeper) was administering familial executive committees. For instance, the good listening skills and democratic approach that Mandela exhibited could be attributed to how his custodian applied the same skills in his administration. Mandela’s keeper was excellent in terms of observing, rather than talking when other people were given the chance to present their views.
This tactic was evident in the movie when he deliberated issues with the rugby team. He let the members air their views without criticizing them, but later gave his advice. Following his strong conviction about democracy and free will of the people, Mandela relinquished power after only one term of presidency. This phenomenon was not common in African states. Charismatic leadership style was also evident in Mandela’s leadership.
His approach compelled his followers to act in a particular way. For example, as a leader of the Youth League of African National Congress (ANCYL), he led several boycotts, strikes, petitions, and protests against the segregation regime of the South African apartheid. In fact, Mandela’s charismatic leadership skills can be traced back to his university years where he influenced students to go on strike to have their democratic rights to vote in university elections upheld. This move resulted in his expulsion from the university. Moreover, when Mandela was released after 27 years of imprisonment at Robben Island and Victor Verster Prison, South African citizens overwhelmingly voted for him to become the first black president. Perseverance for a course was another key feature in Mandela’s leadership. To begin with, Mandela was expelled from the university as a second-year law student for leading a students’ protest against an undemocratic voting process at the university. However, he did not give up his pursuit of education. Rather, he enrolled in a foreign university where he completed his law degree.
Moreover, he did not give up his fight for democracy in his country. He later joined the youth league where he became its leader. When the government banned ANC and its youth association, Mandela organized an underground continuation of the movement, which resulted in his arrest and imprisonment for 27 years. While in prison Mandela was persecuted over the years. He did not give up on his urge to set his people free through democracy. When he became the president, his government faced challenges of racial discrimination, poverty, crime, and violence. However, he came up with various intervention measures such preaching forgiveness and reconciliation.
How Nelson Mandela achieved results through Communicating and Motivating People
Mandela believed in the power of the people in leadership. As such, communication and motivation of his colleagues and followers were key components in his leadership. One of the communication tools that Mandela used was the face-to-face meeting with influential personalities or opinion leaders. For instance, when he took over the government, the country was facing major challenges of racial discrimination, including his security details. The former presidential security officer who used to guard his white predecessor lived with suspicion from the black guards. This situation made Mandela advocate equality and trust between blacks and white citizens.
For example, in the movie, he met the rugby team captain François Pienaar to plan on how to influence unity and trust among citizens through his team. Moreover, Mandela used sports to communicate his message of trust between blacks and whites. The success of the rugby team and the cheering from both blacks and whites motivated the ANC activist who distrusted the whites and the Afrikaner security personnel to agree to work together. Conclusively, Mandela’s headship achievement can be accredited to his ability to build harmony among his antagonists. For example, he made the white people trust their black counterparts and vice versa through discourses. His strong poetic speeches also motivated his followers to fight for a unified and stable South Africa.