Although when he was offered his freedom.

Although Nelson Mandela was not an Army Soldier, I believe
he embodied everything we stand for, from our own Army Values straight through
to our Warrior Ethos.  Mandela was a man
of staunch character, strong presence and great intellectual capacity.  All of these attributes enabled him to lead
and develop and ultimately achieve (Department of Army, 2012) his goal of a united
South Africa.  His legacy has had a
lasting impression on both the world and myself.  My leadership style and that of many other
leaders has been influenced by the way he led and achieved goals.

Mandela epitomized the Army Values with virtually everything
he did.  With a loyalty to his nation and
a duty to his people, Mandela set out to unite his country as one people.  He continually showed respect to all even those
who had mistreated him.  His Selfless
Service and Personal Courage are displayed in 1985 when he was offered his
freedom.  He refused on the principle
that the people of South Africa were still prisoners in their own right. (Parks, 1985)  Mandela realized that integrity and honor
would be the quickest way to unite his nation. 
Displayed by showing love and compassion as opposed to anger and
resentment to those who had wronged him. 
He cared for and viewed all South African’s as equal, regardless of color,
education, or social status.  It was at
tribal meeting that a young Mandela learned the importance of empathizing.  Listening whole heartedly to other tribal chiefs’
express their grievances and never passing judgement. (Gormley,
2015)  It was this trait that would help him unite a
fractured country.  Mandela knew from a
young age that a united South Africa was possible.  He also knew that there would be many
personal sacrifices along the way to that unification.  But he steadfastly placed South African
unification above anything else.  He
never allowed hardships to defeat his dream, he never quit regardless of
physical or mental anguish.  When victory
was finally in sight he did not leave anyone behind, instead he embraced everyone
as his brother. (Corner Alliance, 2013) (Stengel,
2008)

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It is safe to say that Nelson Mandela was perhaps one of the
most awe inspiring leaders of the free world. 
After almost 30 years in prison, Nelson Mandela began dismantling the
apartheid in South Africa, fostering cohesion to the racially splintered nation
and shining a light for human rights the world over. (History.com
Staff, 2009)  Throughout his time in prison, Mandela remained
resilient, envisioning his future as opposed to his current situation. (Williams,
2013)
Daily personal fitness supported his resiliency, despite being forced to work
in quarry mines and break rocks into gravel. (Deliberate Rest, 2015)  From his book A Long Walk To Freedom (1994) Mandela
had this to say of exercise:

I have always
believed exercise is a key not only to physical health but to peace of
mind.  Many times in the old days I
unleashed my anger and frustration on a punchbag rarther than taking it out on
a comrade or even a policeman.  Exercise
dissipates tension, and tension is the enemy of serenity.  I found that I worked better and thought more
clearly when I was in good physical condition, and so training became one of
the inflexible disciplines of my life. 
In prison, having an outlet for my frustrations was absolutely essential. (Mandela,
1994)

His humility also inspired many, having
always been “honored” to meet anyone, no matter their position in the world.  His self-confidence was shown through his
utilization of self-deprecating humor. 
He had a strong understanding on the importance of personal bearing, always
knowing how he was being viewed by others. (Corner Alliance, 2013) 

Mandela was an erudite man that showed great intellectual
capacity.  Educating himself as much as
possible in anticipation of the apartheids collapse shows great mental agility.  Even learning Afrikaans, the white minority
language, so he could better communicate and understand his opposition.  He also study the mistakes of other world
leaders, to ensure South Africa did not repeat their fate. (Krupp & Schoemaker,
2014)  One example is appointing former president
F.W. de Klerk to deputy president and opposition party members to his cabinet.  He realized that kindness rather than
resentment was the only way to unite the nation.  Mandela Socialist views were altered once he
realized the devastation socialism had on the Soviet Union.

Mandela’s leadership ideology lead directly to the development of others which
drove his overall achievements as a leader.  Even when he was in prison he did not stop
thinking like a leader.  Continually
strategizing, trying to find the ideal opportunity to launch his movement to
continue fighting for his vision. (Mandela, 1994)  Further proving him to be an innovative
strategic leader.  Mandela was people and
task oriented.  Mandela once refused a
prison release offer from current President P.W. Botha.  The release conditions called for Mandela  He supported and listened to his followers’
concerns but always remained mindful of his key goal.  He increased people’s willingness to help and
achieve goals by making them each feel important and necessary.  He was a shepherd, leading with vision and
courage.  Mandela would set the direction
from the front and once things were in motion he would lead from behind.  He was not nullifying his leadership responsibilities
by leading this way.  Instead this
enabled him harness the shared creativity to better achieve his vision.  By doing this people had a greater national
interest, it was truly theirs. (Hill, 2010)  In 1993 Mandela and de Klerk received the
Nobel Peace Prize “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid
regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”. (The Nobel Foundation,
1993)  During the 1995 Rugby World Cup, held in
South Africa, Mandela encouraged all South Africans’ rally behind their team.  Traditionally rugby predominantly white and
hated by black South Africans’.  However,
his message was well received by both sides and was perhaps one of the first
steps true steps to promote reconciliation. 
Although a great speaker Mandela firmly believed in listening to what
people had to say.  It did not matter who
you were, everyone had a right to be heard.

Nelson Mandela has received over 250 awards from various countries and
organizations for his political achievements. (Aboobaker, 2012)  In addition to the previously mentioned Nobel
Peace Prize, he also received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom (The New York Times,
2002).  However, Mandela was not an infallible man,
he had his imperfection.  But he was a
man willing to risk everything for what he believed in.  A man who lived daily to make his nation and
the world a better place.  He has taught
us that our path will not always be easy and we will be tempted to avoid them.  But it is in these times that we must hold
true to our values and preserver for the greater good.  Mandela could have left prison a bitter man
and turned the tide on the white minority; instead chose reconciliation and the
victory of principle.   

Studying Nelson Mandela’s life and achievements has made an impact on my
personal growth and development.  I did
not understand all the celebration behind his monumental presidential victory.  It was through my early research that Nelson Mandela
became my first political role model.  I
was inspired by all he had been through and the fact he was able to come out
with his sanity.  Through this I learned that
no matter the difficulties of life, I must always stay true to my principles.  I learned to never quit.  That my failure spoke volume about my
character.  I realized that failure is
not a bad thing, so long as I get back up and learn from it.  Because of him I developed a desire to learn
and assimilate anything I could, no knowledge is worthless.  He taught that in order to defeat my enemies,
I would first have to learn from them.  I
always try to find the good in a situation or people, and do my best to not
hold a grudge.  I learned that even
though we do not all share the same opinion, we are all in this world
together.  He taught me that if I lived
my life with purpose, passion and dedication I could achieve anything.  Perhaps the most important thing I learned
was Nelson Mandela was not a man without flaws and quirks.  He was known to have a short temper and being
impulsive among others.  But he embraced
these and did not allow them to dictate who he was.  This taught me that my flaws are part of who
I am, but they are not who I am.  That
embracing my flaws instead of hiding them, enabled me to spend my time and
energy on greater things.

Based upon my personal growth and development, I have embraced learned
leadership style.  In that I mean, I continually
educate myself on both the unit mission and my own personal growth.  But I also study and learn the people around me;
seniors, peers and subordinates a like. 
Not taking any of them for granted and realizing we all bring something
to the table.  It is my job as a leader
to select the best person for the job.  I
cannot do that if I do not know who my soldiers are, their strengths and
weakness alike.  Additionally, I strive
to remain as empathetic as I can.  Our
institution believes in uniformity, as well as, good order and discipline, but
conformity can only go so far.  Soldiers come
from various walks of life and have our own biases, values, beliefs and outlooks.  If I am to be an effective leader, I must
first learn who my soldier is as a person and how to communicate with them.  Only then do I feel that I can truly lead
that soldier.  I believe before punishing
a Soldier, no matter the infraction, I must first try to understand their
mindset.  Also, I strive to empower my
Soldiers, when time allows I like to get their input.  Sometimes I may have to help steer them down
a path.  But the end goal is that they
will feel more empowered.  Thus allowing
them to take greater pride and ownership in the task, further increasing
productivity.  I am also a realist and
understand this method does not always work. 
It is in those times, that I hope they trust in me enough to follow
without question or hesitation.

I hope the legacy I leave behind is one of empowerment and a desire to be
greater tomorrow than you were today.  To
help others, encouraging and motivating them for the greater good.  To treat all people with the dignity and
respect regardless of who they are or where they come from.  To always strive to achieve your goals, no
matter the difficulty, and then set new ones. 
Never being content with mediocracy and never quitting.  To accept flaws and mistakes as part of being
human, and to never get discouraged by them. 
Most importantly, to maintain an unconquerable soul.

Nelson Mandela leadership legacy will live on for years to come.  His unfailing tenacity to stay true to his
vision no matter the hardships is almost incomprehensible.  The courage for which he held on to his
convictions.  He had an unshakeable
self-confidence and self-belief, coupled with his self-deprecating humor; this
left him with no reason to put another person down to advance himself.  He may not have been a Soldier, but his
leadership qualities are of the finest exemplifications of the Army Values and
Warriors Ethos.  He had an innate ability
to not only lead but motivate people to achieve amazing results.  He was able to empower not only his nation, but
people across the globe.  He did truly
stand and deliver a very powerful message, more through actions than mere
words.  Mandela’s leadership qualities
are firmly planted within my own personal philosophy.  He was a true legacy leader and I will
continue to foster those qualities.  Building
upon them, in hopes of one day being able to touch people the way he did.

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