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May 25, 2010


Mark Opolion

Hi Murray,

I recently read an interesting book on Nelson Mandela.

'Mandela's Way: Lessons on Life' by Richard Stengel covers leadership in great detail.

Mandela has always taken risks to lead.

According to Mandela, leaders must not only lead, they must be SEEN to be leading - that is part of their job description."

Mandela says "even in personal relationships, he believed that you should take the lead. If there is something bothering you, if you feel you have been treated unfairly, you must say so. That is leading too."

Mandela has always wanted to learn from people who he believes have true expertise, and he also learns and empowers people which leads to making them allies.

According to Mandela, "a good chief does not grandly state his opinion and command others to follow him. He/she listens, he/she summarizes, and then he/she seeks to mold opinion and steer people toward an action."

Mandela looked up to Abraham Lincoln, saying "he was impressed by the way Lincoln used persuasion rather than force in managing his cabinet."

Mandela quotes Lincoln saying: "It is wise to persuade people to do things and make them think it is their own idea."

In terms of leadership in sport,when Sydney premiership coach Paul Roos became the Swans coach he decided to empower his players to provide input into the way the team played and functioned.

And to this day Swans players are continually consulted regarding strategies that lead to team success or failure.

According to Roos, this way it's hard for players to blame the Swans coaching staff because they have significant ownership.

As a result the Sydney Swans are more effective and happier due to being involved in decision-making and the setting of club standards.


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