Lessons in Leadership from Nelson Mandela

As the world mourns the loss of one of its most cherished, respected, and inspiring souls, I felt we could celebrate his incredible life by reading through some of his teachings on leadership, purpose, and the human spirit. May his words continue to inspire the hearts and minds of generations to come.

Some notable quotes from Nelson Mandela

“As a leader… I have always endeavored to listen to what each and every person in a discussion had to say before venturing my own opinion. Oftentimes, my own opinion will simply represent a consensus of what I heard in the discussion. I always remember the axiom: a leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

“There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.”

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Head of People Operations
You might also like ...
Leadership
Predictable Pitfalls of Founders and How to Avoid Them
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in People + Strategy magazine here. We have romanticized founders having their “eureka” moments, writing their...
by Alisa Cohn
Startup Strategy
The Simple Secret to Getting Ahead in Tech
A couple of weeks ago, I read a fantastic article in the Wall Street Journal about Leyla Seka’s rise through...
by George Roberts
Startup Strategy
Using Empathy to Improve the Customer Journey
Empathy is key to improving the customer journey, but to develop it we need to get as close as we...
by OpenView