Leaders are people who inspire and motivate us through their actions and words. As we have seen through many years, the term leadership has been defined in many ways, but always we expect the leader is just someone who shares our values and provide us direction. A great example of these qualities is Nelson Mandela. We can learn many lessons from him, some that will remain through the years:
Lead with your action: Your words and actions should be motivating to others. Inspire courage, desire to learn, instilling a sense that anything is possible. One way to teach others is by our example.
Planning: Establish a plan, be clear in advance what ideas and priorities will help us achieve success in any business or personal task.
Work With The Willing: In life we find people who despite having the talent and potential to do something, they are detained and unwilling to move forward. We cannot carry the burden of others, we have to let these people deal with their own experiences and surround ourselves with other like-minded to Us. We have to approach those who inspire us and bring something positive to our lives.
Communicate: Knowing how to bring a focused message and make sure that it has been understood. Sometimes come into play cultural idiosyncrasies, body language and other factors that could cause frustration. Nelson Mandela is a great example of a communicator.
Interacting with People: Nelson Mandela is able to motivate a whole country to work together for a common cause. He was willing to establish relationships of all parties in order to achieve its goal of a united and successful South Africa.
Develop Strong Character: Having a strong sense of conviction and personality cause respect for the followers. Nelson Mandela knew that he was doing the right thing despite the consequences that crossed. On one occasion, Mandela shared a leadership lesson he learned when herding cattle, Stengel (1994): “When you want to get a herd to move in a certain direction,” he said, “you stand at the back with a stick. Then a few of the more energetic cattle move to the front and the rest of the cattle follow. You are really guiding them from behind.” He paused before saying with a smile, “That is how a leader should do his work”. Mandela was a charismatic and democratic leader because his behavior was that of a unique style. Mandela’s emotional stability was evident as never reacted against their oppressors. Mandela never showed a desire for revenge or hatred and his ideals have always remained unchanged. Mandela also was firm as a leader. A quality that has been admired by many is how Mandela interacted with all social classes. In their struggle to bring democracy to South Africa, Mandela used a democratic leadership style. “Democratic leaders set policies through group discussion and decision, encouraging and helping group members to interact, requesting the cooperation of others, and being considerate of members’ feelings and needs” (Johnson & Johnson, 2013, p. 177). I believe that my leadership style is a combination of Task-Oriented & Charismatic Leadership. That’s because many times I focus on the work to be completed in the time required. I usually like to define the work and the steps required to put things in place, and plan, organize and monitor the work. In addition I like to perform other tasks such as creating and maintaining performance standards. On the other hand I like to inspire enthusiasm and provide motivation to groups. Compared to the leadership style of Mr. Mandela, I identify myself for his charisma with people. My interest is to develop a more Transformational Style. As I mentioned in other writings, I think the best scenario is have the ability to move from one style to another according to the situation. Although we have a particular style we must consider the following steps to improve our leadership skills (Yulk, p. 401, 2013):
•Develop a personal vision of career objectives.
•Seek appropriate mentors.
•Seek challenging developmental assignments.
•Use social networks to learn about developmental opportunities. •Improve self-monitoring.
•Seek relevant feedback.
•Learn from mistakes.
•Learn to view events from multiple perspectives.
•Be skeptical of easy answers.
Before adopting a leadership style we have to understand the needs of individuals and the organization. The style should be adapted to the particular demands of the situation. There will always be challenges that a leader must deal, different personality styles that will have to manage to inspire and influence them.