Nelson Mandela, a Model of LeadershipIntroduction A leader is always confronted with situations in which he/she is required to take some risks. A leader is specifically faced with a risk when a new idea or challenge emerges or when forced outside the normal comfort zone. A leader can also be forced to take a risk if he is wiling to be first and win the trust of the subjects or is willing to try new ideas or apply new concepts in working out issues. Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 at Mvezo the capital of the Transkei in South Africa.
He was one of the greatest re-known risk takers as a leader. Madiba which is a term of respect is used to refer to Mandela after his challenge of the social process of apartheid in South Africa that ascended him to become the first black president of South Africa. Though he was imprisoned for 27 years, he achieved much with style and grace. On May 10, 1994, Mandela accepted the presidency of South Africa with national pride and humbleness (Brink, 2000). In the process of ascending to the presidency, he became a global model of leadership.
In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Prize partly due to his leadership capabilities. Nelson started to develop his leadership style in the course of his early childhood years when he was watching his parents’ behavior, listening to them narrate African tales and also listening to his father, Chiefs, and elders rehearse oral history (Brink, 2000). Foundations of Risk takingApart from life, a powerful constitution and an abiding connection to the Thembu royal house, the only thing Mandela’s father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, presented upon him at birth was a name, Rolihlala.
Mandela’s first imminent into leadership was from seeing his father, his role model. He knew his mother cherished and supported him but he maintained he defined himself through his father. The Xhosa are proud and patrilineal individuals with an animated and euphonious language and an abiding belief in the significance of laws, education and courtesy. Nelson approved all the above traits and beliefs. This is shown in his vibrant mannerisms, eloquent speech, humbleness and moral code of ethics.
Xhosa society was a reasonable and harmonious social order in which each person knew. Each member belonged to a clan that traces its descendent back to a particular forefather. It was from these members that Mandela further advanced strong ties to his homeland and the community (Brink, 2000). Mandela is considered by several people as a revolutionary leader who assisted in organizing the fight against racial discrimination and apartheid in South Africa. Mandela witnessed leadership style at a very tender age when observing his parents supervising tribal decision making meetings.
Nelson’s guardian observed in silenced for several days and not voicing his opinion even after everyone’s suggestion was aired. After everyone had spoken, his custodian guided the group to find a consensus. Afterwards he applied the learned experience in molding his leadership style (Hall, 2000). Behavioral traits Mandela recollected the following lesson concerning leadership from when he was a youthful cattle herder: that when a person intends to direct a herd of cattle to a certain direction, he normally stands behind them and directs them from that position.
From that position, a few of the most energetic ones will lead other as they follow. This implies that a leader should follow suit (Hall, 2006).