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Enlightened Leadership

On this day we honour the beautiful human, Nelson Mandela, who was and still is the embodiment of enlightened leadership.

We all know who Nelson Mandela is, a civil rights leader and activist. Mandela was instrumental in South Africa's transition out of Apartheid, laying the foundation for democracy, and was the country's first democratically elected president.

Mandela’s wisdom emerged from deep personal struggle and a commitment to a powerful vision of unity, reconciliation and partnership within a culture of segregation and division; he was deeply authentic in his leadership, and his courage continues to inspire all leaders.

“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.” Nelson Mandela in 1994

Mandela’s belief and conviction in the profound power of forgiveness, particularly of the perceived “enemy”, set him apart as a role model for humanity and a guiding light for all leaders. The notion of releasing resentment and the need for revenge and retribution and replacing it with genuine compassion and a heartfelt desire for reconciliation made his leadership visionary and deeply inspires our work here at Aspirall.

“Reconciliation starts from here. Forgiveness starts from here. Forgiveness liberates the soul, it removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon. Our enemy is not the Afrikaners. But they are our fellow South Africans. We have to surprise them with compassion and generosity. There is no time to celebrate petty revenge. We have to rebuild the nation''.

Mandela’s leadership style was one of the most powerful the world has seen, he sought to envision and elicit the highest and most profound qualities of a person, regardless of their past actions and found this to be a valuable instrument in helping people reach their highest potential. A great leader works hard to see beyond their own bias to elevate those around them and pave the way for their greatness and success. This kind of leadership leads to the cultivation of peace and unification.

“It never hurts to think too highly of a person; often they become ennobled and act better because of it.”

On this special day, we invite you to look at how you bring more unity into your organisation. What more can be done to create and anchor a culture of empathy and understanding with peace, collaboration and partnership as your guiding light and highest values? Where can you lift others up and hold a higher vision of them to elicit greatness? Finally, where can you do this at home with your loved ones and for yourself at a personal level?

“A real leader uses every issue, no matter how serious and sensitive, to ensure that at the end of the debate we should emerge stronger and more united than ever before.” – Nelson Mandela’s personal notebook, January 16, 2000


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