Inspirational Leadership: Nelson Mandela As A Transformational Leader

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1. Introduction Nelson Mandela will forever be known as an inspirational leader, statesman and as the person who led the world to end apartheid in South Africa. He was a strong role model personally committed to his vision of change and equality for all races. He followers were able to clearly identify his vision, relate to his ethics and be inspired by his personal journey to achieve change. 2. Case study questions a. Identify whether Nelson Mandela displays a leadership style that is congruent with charismatic or transformational leadership. Nelson Mandela was a transformational leader who demonstrated charismatic traits. In his article “What is Charisma and Charismatic Leadership”, Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., professor of leadership and…show more content…
A transformational leader has the ability to inspire followers and usually demonstrates personality traits such as self-awareness, confidence, self-regulation, conscientiousness, motivation, empathy and social skills (Goleman, 1995). Nelson Mandela clearly demonstrates this through his taking a nation, and indeed the entire world, on the journey to end apartheid in South Africa. In assessing his transformational leadership style you can clearly identify the four elements outlined in McShane (2016, p 390). From his joining of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1944 (https://www.nelsonmandela.org/content/page/biography) until his death, Nelson Mandela held strong to his strategic vision of a world that did not discriminate based on race. He communicated this vision via many means throughout his life time. He himself was a model for the vision through his forgiveness of those who had discriminated against others and imprisoned him for 27 years. There are many publications on Nelson Mandela that speak to his forgiveness. He experimented with many ways to share his vision including his own incarceration, participation in the ANC Youth League, in his role as President and finally through his charitable endeavours. These also show is personal commitment to his…show more content…
He was given many opportunities to witness first-had the chief’s leadership skills. Goleman (Goleman, David. "Leadership that Gets Results" Harvard Business Review. March-April 200 p. 82-83.) outlines the six styles of leadership as commanding, visionary, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting and coaching. Throughout his life Mandela seemed to be able to seamlessly adjust his leadership style for the situation at hand. There are many essays, reports and articles that discuss Mandela’s ability to share his vision (visionary), create harmony and connection (affiliative), create a shared bond for the vision (democratic), set standards for the vision through a clear demonstration of his values such as forgiveness and peace (pacesetting) and build a commitment in others to forge forward with the vision (coaching). In researching Mandela, very little is written to indicate that he adopted a command and control style. However, during his time with the ANC Youth League Mandela appeared to be more action orientated to achieve his goals. His participation in the Defiance Campaign, a national protest against laws curtailing the freedoms of blacks, Indians and coloureds and subsequent imprisonment is a demonstration of his commitment to the achievement of his vision

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