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Leadership Theory and Practice Mandela

Leadership is a vital aspect of running organizations. Failure in leadership results in many undesirable situations in organizations. The article from the times magazine seeks to analyze some personal characteristics that contribute to leadership through one of the most popular political leaders globally. Some of the characteristics portrayed by the leader may enable organizational executives and managers assist their organizations and employees on a path that will culminate in success.

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The most evident trait that Mandela had in his armoury was his ability to galvanise or inspire people. His ability to galvanize people emanated from what he underwent in prison and his treatment of his oppressors. For all the tribulations he suffered, he held no grudge against his oppressor. The article tackles various aspects of leadership such as the ability to listen and lead from the front. A leader should have the capacity to articulate some policies and lead the citizenry in following them. Leadership is complex hence: a person in such a position encounters several challenges. The article offers advice to leaders when they encounter adversity from opponents. An individual should learn certain aspects of the opponent. In Mandela’s case, he studied their language. Studying their language equipped him with adequate armoury in negotiations with his oppressors. In a country where the natives were unwilling to study such a language since it was regarded as a colonial language, Mandela studied it to give him good political skills (Stengel, 2008).

Leadership varies depending on the organizational environment. In the first, article leadership is in a political environment. This requires the leader to galvanize the nation towards achieving a certain goal. The citizenry can follow any leader at will. Evidently, the leadership environment has emerged as a key determinant of leadership trends. Various setups have varying objectives subsequently; the strategies of leaders in various environments will vary. However, there are basic personal traits that are vital in leaders. Such traits include charisma and ability to inspire followers. Such characters will enable the leader to guide followers in a certain direction. In Mandela’s case, he had a massive leeway in leading the citizenry of his nation (The East-West centre, 2009).

The article only elaborates characteristics, which made Mandela an inspirational leader. However, most of these characteristics were only applicable in the political environment. Leadership is vital in various setups such as family, religious, academic and commercial. As such, some of these traits would be irrelevant in some of the mentioned setups. Therefore, one major failing of the article is analyzing leadership from a single perspective yet; leadership is complex requiring interdisciplinary knowledge, personal traits and experience.


Stengel, R. (2008). Mandela: His 8 Lessons of Leadership. Times Magazines. Web.

The East-West centre. (2009).Transformational leadership. The Journal of the East-West leadership Certificate Program, 1(3), pp. 51-62.

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