I recently attended a talk by Debora Patta on the Leadership Lessons from Nelson Mandela. As a journalist, Debora worked closely with Nelson Mandela after his release from prison, and during his first few years as President of South Africa. She is a phenomenal speaker.
Here's the list of Leadership Lessons...
Courage is not the absence of fear, but how you deal with your fears. There were many time when Mr. Mandela was afraid, but he didn't show it. The more you pretend to be brave, the braver you become. Courage is a lost virtue, and needs to be rediscovered in the workplace of today
Know when to say no, and let your no be firm. No is a lot kinder than ambiguity and uncertainty
Learn to persevere more. Mandela was a marathoner in his thinking, not a sprinter. He focused on the long term end result of an issue, not short term quick-fixes. We give up too easily, too often
Do the right thing, even if other people perceive it to be the wrong thing. Speak truth to people in power, even if you are afraid
Mandela believes that everyone has one core principal in life (I wonder what mine is? What is your core principal in life?)
You have to know when to compromise
Grow your own garden. Mandela tended a small vegetable garden during his years in prison - he says it helped him to disconnect from the world and put things into perspective. He still tends his garden today. Everyone needs a hobby. Take time to switch off and reflect. The deepest insights come from these quiet times
Think laterally when trying to solve a problem. Mandela used rugby to unite a society which was deeply divided along racial lines. Go outside the box, look for unusual solutions
True leadership is about humility and serving others