The world has seen an array of leaders that emerged throughout history for different causes. The civil rights movement, the women rights movement, the gay rights movement, and the fight for independence, are a few of the many reasons why we were able to get to know some amazing leaders. This is because each one of those leaders had a vision of equality, and they were willing to do everything possible to reach that goal. One of these leaders was Nelson Mandela with his peaceful fight for civil rights in South Africa. Nelson Mandela was a man who was true to his word and dedicated to equality and peace.

The fact that he was president isn’t what makes him stand out, but the fact that he effectively executed many of the leadership qualities we learned about in class, is what makes such a great leader. One of the first class topics that were exhibited by Nelson Mandela is “Model the Way”. He was a devoted believer in non-violence resistance methods for the fight for equality, and that is exactly what he displayed. He first became active in politics with the election of the “Afrikaner-dominated National Party”1. He stayed true to his belief of non-violence resistance, which he adopted from Gandhi, and was arrested and charged with treason.

I believed that he stayed true to his beliefs even if that meant imprisonment. Nelson Mandela also showed characteristics of “Model the Way” while in office. Although some were suspicious about his approach, he was persistent on what he believed and made sure that he also presented himself the way that he needed to be seen. He believed in equality and therefore made his whole staff that way by adding non-African men to his security staff. This is a great example of “Modeling the Way”, because when Nelson Mandela meant equality, he really meant it for all and so he implemented that idea within his staff.

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Another class topic clearly shown by Nelson Mandela was “Challenge the Process”. He saw a group in power that in his eyes was not working for the benefit of the people, and “challenged their leadership”1. His imprisonment showed how he was ready to go against anything for his cause, and his style of leadership also showed that he didn’t mind changing things up in order to achieve what he wanted. Who else would have thought of using rugby as one of the motivations for revitalizing Africa2? He was considered a risk-taker because of his innovative ideas for getting his point across.

Of course, we cannot forget the fact that he was the first black president in general. What other way to “Challenge the Process” than to be the first leader of color for a whole country? This is one of the reasons why Nelson Mandela really stands out as a leader. He was different, and he embraces this to the fullest. He was never afraid to push farther, (even if it meant that not everyone was happy), as long as it contributed to the common good of integrating Africa. “Inspire a Shared Vision” is, in my opinion, the most important trait that was effectively carried out by Nelson Mandela.

In order to be successful in re-establishing Africa he must have had everyone on his side and on the same page. Of course, it was difficult to do this especially since segregation was such a huge part of the previous presidency. Mandela had to make sure to inspire the people by showing strong leadership as well as strong character and dedication. He also allows for a shared vision by making it clear that what he wants is equality and integration. By always following that, and again “Modeling the Way”, Nelson Mandela was able to show others how to interact with people that were not the same as them.

He was a huge inspiration to so many people, and still is a huge inspiration, because of his dedication and vision. It also helps that he was so stubborn3, because in a way, this is what gave him his drive and dedication to lead everyone into thinking the way he did when it came to equality. This “stubborn sense of fairness”3, enabled him to continue doing everything he believed was right even when others went against it, or when at first it didn’t seem to be successful. The last class topic that I believe Nelson Mandela does very well is “Enable Others to Act”.

Nelson Mandela along with being very peaceful is also very selfless, and he did not let power get to his head. In being so humble and giving, he allowed others to also emerge as leaders. The perfect example would be Francois Pienaar, the captain of the rugby team during Nelson Mandela’s presidency. By motivating Francois and showing that Africa completely supported him and the team, essentially Nelson Mandela led him to their victory and their win of the 1995 World Cup. Nelson Mandela made sure to let the people know that they were the key to the success of Africa.

He supported the decisions of others and made everyone feel as if they had a contribution to his leadership. From his protection force who could truly call him a friend to his personal assistant who cared for him as much more than just a leader. Basically, Nelson Mandela enabled others to act by being accepting of everyone around him and ensuring that everyone felt as family rather than just employees2. Nelson Mandela was a round and complete leader. He naturally exhibited all types of leadership qualities which is what led him to his success.

I believe that with all the qualities that made him a leader, he was also able to “encourage the heart”. The best thing about Nelson Mandela’s leadership is that he was not afraid to be himself. Although he did sometimes have to put up a front of bravery and triumph, I feel like he kept true to he was during his whole time of presidency, before his presidency, and also much after. His humble, down to earth attitude, mixed in with his stubborn aura, made him an unforgettable and influential leader. Nelson Mandela was an icon of peace and dedication.


1. http://en. wikipedia. rg/wiki/Nelson_Mandela#Anti-apartheid_activities 2. Invictus (2009) directed by Clint Eastwood 3. “Inspired by Mandela’s ‘stubborn sense of fairness’” by John Stremlau, February 10, 2010 Nelson Mandela was an amazing leader because of his dedication, inspiration, and his vision of change. He was one of the leaders to put an end to segregation/apartheid rule of Africa and the first black president of the country. As president, his main goal was to unify Africa. He made sure that everyone clearly knew and understood his goal of equality, and took all the steps possible in order to reach that goal.

He encouraged the actions of others, and motivated others towards acceptance of people that are different. From integrating his own staff, to the desire for the rest of Africa to also get along with people of a different race, Nelson Mandela made sure he accomplished his goal as much as possible. So basically he modeled the way, inspired a shared vision, enabled others to act, challenged the process, and encouraged the heart, which are all 5 parts of leadership. All these qualities, and his peaceful tactics for dealing with the issue, are some of the many reasons why Nelson Mandela was such a great leader.


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