True leaders, like Mandela, change minds by Julian Barling at the Ottawa Citizen on 9 January 2014.

An article composed in the aftermath of Nelson Mandela’s funeral – he was an inspiring man provided numerous leadership lessons on a global scale.  Perhaps one of the reasons that he is seen as such an incredible leader is that he did not merely seek to boost his own supporters; he actively sought to tear down the walls that divide people and groups.  From his experiences as a prisoner to those as a president, he was remarkably consistent (and hence reliable) at reaching out to others who had different views.  Mandela had many reasons to be bitter, but his leadership, personality, and mastery of symbolism lifted his actions onto a much higher plain that transcended all walls and boundaries.

There are numerous articles about Nelson Mandela – what I really liked about this one is that it provides an achievable end-state for Canadian politicians.  If Mandela was able to rise from the depths of bitter oppression and apartheid and embrace his former jailers, surely Canadian politicians can overcome their seemingly “childish” actions and work together to make Canada a better place – it’s all about respect.  My favourite quote from the article comes near the end:

“…political divisions are solved neither by shouting ever-louder, nor by avoiding the other. Great leaders don’t demonize others and maximize divisions; they do what they can to create unity among all in the pursuit of their most cherished beliefs, knowing that this shows real strength, not weakness.”

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