Watching “Mandela,” I was struck by his leadership:
His people were angry. Understandably so, after years of violent repression.
He called for peace – and they heeded his call.
He said: “I am your leader. While I am your leader I will give you leadership. If I think you are wrong, I will tell you I think you are wrong.” And they follow his lead.
How is such leadership possible?
He had been living out his message for years. It wasn’t show, it wasn’t spin. It’s who he was. He could say “I have forgiven them,” and even that freedom “is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
A little closer to home, back in 1984 Acorn computer were facing financial crisis. Pay cuts and redundancies were needed. So the board handed back their company cars. Twenty years later, Acorn has morphed into ARM – with a chip in practically every smartphone and tablet.
When leaders live out their message, it carries true conviction. People follow. Even when the message is hard to hear.
We’re all leaders. We may not be leading whole nations – but we still make a difference. When we embody our values and ideals, those values and ideals are more alive in the world. And the ripples go further than we think.