Mandela: A Study in the Responsible Use of Power. Lesson Two: Be a Bifocal Leader

NUGGET : Great leaders have bi-focal sight: they simultaneously focus on today and the longer term future. As we say goodbye to Mandela, I’m thinking about some of the lesser known insights from that amazing time of transformation. So to continue on the “lessons” theme launched in the last posting (Use of Power, Lesson One: Awareness), I’d like to highlight an amazing and courageous decision that Mandela and his cohorts on Robben Island made early in their incarceration. To set the stage, recall that Mandela was imprisoned in 1964 and was not released until February 11, 1990. The new South African Constitution was not ratified until 1996, with the first… Read More

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Mandela: A Study in the Responsible Use of Power Lesson One: Awareness

NUGGET : A leadership role carries special responsibilities and powers. The first lesson is to be aware that as a formal leader you speak and act for your group, your institution, your cause. You are no longer just “you,” but are also your role. In 1983 I was invited to give a series of talks in South Africa. That invitation launched me on a long, intense, and varied relationship with that country, its people, and many public and private institutions, including living there from 1992-1998. South Africa is still my second home, so the death of Nelson Mandela has special personal significance. In 1983, international sanctions against South Africa were… Read More

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