10 Best Lessons From Nelson Mandela As A Leader

Nelson Mandela as a leader is a powerhouse for the world. He is a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary leader who became the president of South Africa between 1994 & 1999.

‘Nelson Mandela as a leader’ remained one of the most iconic and influential figures of the last century.

He was born on July 18, 1918, in the village of Mvezo in South Africa. 

He joined the African National Congress(ANC) in the 1940s. He played a key role in fighting against racism and black people’s forced segregation. 

This practice is known as apartheid.

He was put behind bars for 27 years for civil disobedience which was a freedom movement for him. 

He was released from prison in 1990. 

He continued his fight against racial segregation and won the Noble Peace Prize in 1993. 

His life gave us intrinsic motivation.

Thoughts Of Nelson Mandela As A Leader In A Slideshow

Thoughts Of Nelson Mandela As A Leader In A Slideshow

What Made Nelson Mandela A Great Leader?

The freedom movement made Nelson Mandela a great leader. He fought a long battle against racism, apartheid and racial segregation. He fought for equality and peace. 

His leadership qualities reflect in his movements and revolutions. He was a great speaker and had a great convincing ability. 

He was brave and courageous to lead the march and protest. He was jailed many times in his lifetime because of civil disobedience.

He inspired many people with his mission. He had a great fan following around the globe. 

He wrote his autobiography from jail. The name of his book is “Long Walk To Freedom.” 

Lessons From Nelson Mandela As A Leader & Nelson Mandela Leadership Qualities

Nelson Mandela’s struggle for freedom helped to bring out the leader in him. 

He has given these 10 important leadership lessons. They have leadership qualities, success principles, and inspiration for humankind.

1- Demand Respect If People Are Not Treating You Well

  • Nelson Mandela says you must fight the battle for dignity. When people are bent upon insulting you by design, then they have a motive and mission behind your disrespect.
  • However, you have to demonstrate those qualities which can earn you respect. Only asking people to treat you well will not suffice. Don’t disrespect others, be firm on your ground and show humility & empathy.
  • Even if people slight you, don’t budge on their demands and warn them ‘they can’t get any positive response with this approach. They have to treat you well for any dialogue.’ Unless you respect me and my mission, we can’t initiate any meaningful conversations.

2- Prove Those People Wrong Who Doubt You

  • Nelson Mandela cites his story. A lady called him on the telephone and asked him to who you are speaking. He says you tell me your name and who are you. The lady retorted from the other side, you seem to me an illiterate man, are you even a matric pass? You are not appearing to be in my class and she banged the phone. Nelson Mandela says I proved her wrong by achieving much more in my life than possessing a matric certificate.
  • Mandela says to use others’ doubts to fuel your motivation. Don’t let others’ doubts and failures discourage you from your goals in life. Others’ opinions about you can’t bring you down in life.
  • The best way to prove yourself right and others wrong is through your actions and accomplishments. Achieve big in life and let your success speak for you. 

3- Use Your Time Wisely, Don’t Waste Time

  • Nelson Mandela says you have a limited time on this planet. You must utilise this time. Use this time to build your nation and leave a mark for others to follow. 
  • Time is the most valuable resource. Once you squandered it, you can’t get it back. Prioritize your tasks and begin with the most valuable.
  • By utilizing your time wisely you can achieve more and you can achieve before in life.

4- Don’t Worry About Labels

  • Mandela says labels are your branding. They can be dangerous for your bigger goals in life. Sometimes your labels become your limiting beliefs and don’t allow you to see beyond a particular perspective. It can prove to be detrimental and internecine at times. Don’t wear any badge or label. Wear purpose and serve the nation.
  • When you are not worried about labels, you are not biased toward people and missions. You are honest and upright in your attitude and behaviour.
  • The most important thing is to be true to yourself and pursue a path that brings you fulfilment and happiness, regardless of how others categorize or label you.

5- Be Humble & Show Humility

  • Nelson Mandela says to be honest with yourself. You can’t have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. He further says people around the world want peace. You have to show humility because when people realize you are no threat to them, they come up to you and embrace you. They listen to you and follow you.
  • Being humble also means putting others ahead of you. Showing compassion and being empathetic to them. 
  • When you are humble, you don’t crave attention and recognition. You give credit to others and acknowledge their achievements and contributions.  

6- Have Heroes & Role Models In Life

  • You must have heroes and mentors in your life. They are like torchbearers who continuously guide you and show ways to you. When they are missing from your life, you can easily miss the bigger achievements of life.
  • They are an inspiration for you and you become an inspiration for others. They guide you and motivate you. They pull you in life when you are down and give you hope for bigger achievements
  • Our life needs heroes, our society requires role models, and our country demands idols. We all require someone to look up to. 

7- Take A Stand For Your Cause

  • Nelson Mandela says whether people are with you, countries are with you or doubting you, you always remain form on your stand. You have to show courage and rectitude for your points. Testing time in life proves your mettle. When you stand firm through thick and thin, people trust you and give you their hearts. 
  • Make your voice heard and assert your values, principles, or ideals in the face of opposition, criticism, or adversity. Don’t lose your stand ever in life. You are recognized by the path you tread and the methodology you adopt.
  • Taking your stand firmly also ensures that you take responsibility and accountability for your actions. 

8- Manage Your Emotions

  • Nelson Mandela says you need the brain to dominate your blood. If your emotion says that white is your enemy, you must not talk with them, but your brain says that if you don’t talk to white people, you will not be able to maintain peace in the country and it will simmer in revenge, then to reconcile conflict and keep the peace you must listen to your brain. 
  • Emotions are temporary but well-thought plans and strategies are permanent for the development of the nation. Temporary emotions must not hijack permanent progresses.
  • When you act on triggers and don’t practice mindfulness you are bound to err in the long run. Your one mistake can derail your mission or give a different direction to your supporters. 

9- Be Willing To Die For Your Mission

  • When you are willing to die for your country and love to embrace death as a freedom fighter then something happens within you. People who are around you and people who are fighting against you imbue with your values and mission.
  • Dedication and commitment have no replacement. You have to die for your mission not because you are brave, but because you have a duty to perform. 
  • Always remember those who stand for nothing fall for anything. If you want to serve people and the nation then you must have values and principles.

10- Show Conviction To What You Say & Do

Show Your Conviction 10
  • Nelson Mandela says you must be a principle and value-oriented person. If you compromise with your values based on the people you talk with then you are not a person who is to be trusted as a leader.
  • When you show conviction then you act as a responsible leader. People trust in you and give you their fights.
  • Conviction and trustworthiness are the assets of any world-class leader. Leaders are always alive in memories. 


There are plenty of lessons we learn from Nelson Mandela as a leader. Nelson Mandela Leadership qualities are the guiding lights for all of us. 

His life gives us motivation and inspiration. His struggle for his mission is an extraordinary record of events in history.

The noble peace Prize award to him is a small favour to acknowledge his huge services. He has served not only the African nation but the entire world.

Please share these lessons with your relatives and friends. These leadership principles can change anyone’s life. You can become a catalyst for their life.

May God bless you. Amen.

Thank you.

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