Mandela’s eight . . . Writer Richard Stenge worked with Nelson Mandela for two years toward publishing Mandela’s biography, A Long Walk…

Mandela’s eight . . .

Writer Richard Stenge worked with Nelson Mandela for two years toward publishing Mandela’s biography, A Long Walk to Freedom.

His admiration for the man shines through every phrase in his article in Time magazine’s July 11 issue: “Mandela is the closest thing the world has to a secular saint,” he said.

He sums up the rules with these words “Mandela’s rules are calibrated to cause the kind of trouble that forces us to ask how we can make the world a better place.”

I can only cite only the lesson headers, not the illustrative examples. They stand alone and are worthy of contemplation; the books better!

Anyway here’s Nelson Mandela’s eight lessons of Leadership:

1) Courage is not the absence of fear — it’s inspiring others to move beyond it.

2) Lead from the front — but don’t leave your base behind.

3) Lead from the back and let others believe they are in front.

4) Know your enemy and learn about his favourite sport.

5) Keep your friends close and your rivals even closer.

6) Appearances matter and remember to smile.

7) Nothing is black or white.

8) Quitting is leading too.

He’ll talk your ear off and then ask you how you lost it. (senior saying)

The search for leaders . . .

Then there’s this: “Wanted: charismatic men and women to provide leadership to a large national enterprise in an extremely troubled and complex environment. Must have a sincere and well-articulated vision of the enterprise’s future, acceptable to the majority of shareholders.

Strong communication skills are vital, including the ability to respond sensitively to conflicting demands despite diminished reserves and large debt load. Successful candidates will be morally beyond reproach, tough minded but flexible.

They will require a sound grasp of public relations, economic, social and legal matters. Must be candid, open-minded and at ease with persons from all cultures. Ability to accept criticism essential. Weekend and night work necessary. Those with previous experience need not apply.”

It’s a fanciful, tongue-in-cheek advertisement, which opens a cover feature in the Maclean’s magazine, July 22, 1991 issue, under the title The Search for Leaders.

That sermon was longer than 40 miles of dirt road. (senior saying)

And now a senior moment and a tip of the hat to Canada’s six million or so grandparents on this Grandparent’s Day, September 10th …

At a hockey game a university student began explaining loudly to a senior, why his generation didn’t understand his.

“Your world was almost primitive compared to ours,” he said, “The young people of today grew up with television, jet planes, and space travel. We have nuclear energy, electric cars, cellphones, computers … and more, lot’s more!”

After a brief silence the elder replied. “You’re right, son. We didn’t have those things when we were young — so we invented them. Now, if you can think past your arrogance, tell me, what are you doing for the next generation?” (An edited ‘net joke)

He had his tongue tied in the middle so it can wag at both ends. (J. Hingley, New Glasgow, NB)

A tip of the hat to all those men and women running for political office. Oh, and should a senior suggest you “save your breath to cool your porridge,” leave quietly!

Leadership is an election issue say pundits and politicians. These notes suggest the high ground we’re seeking in our candidates. It’s interesting, is it not, that all worldwide advice we gather on leadership, from all lands, and all peoples, since time immemorial until today, we find the same old principles? They’re obviously not worn out yet.

A last word: “If our political institutions do not function well, it is because we have not demanded that they do,” wrote Charles Gordon, July 22, ‘91 issue of Maclean’s in a piece titled: “We have seen the enemy, it is us!”


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