Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Being a Leader and Ubuntu

I received a book as a gift earlier this spring, and like most people I guess, I tucked it away in my "to do pile".  Well, I just finished reading it, and found it completely refreshing, while also kicking myself for letting it sit on my shelf for so long.   The book is called Mandela's Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love & Courage by Richard Stengel. Stengel spent years at Mandela's side, at both matters professional and personal, public and private.
Among many things, the book touches on how Mandela had to evolve over time; from a young dissident, to a calmer, more mature person.  He learned to listen, be patient, and know when to lead from the front, and when to lead from behind.  Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the book for me was the topic of ubuntu.  Ubuntu is described by Stengel as "the idea that people are empowered by other people, that we become our best selves through unselfish interaction with others." Simply put, I love this.  It both confirmed and refreshed my own philosophy of leading.  Most poignantly though, it educated me.  If you lead anyone, or aspire to lead, in any type of forum, I believe this to be a must read.  It reads very easy and quick, and you'll have trouble putting it down. 

You can find more information on the book here at http://www.mandelasway.com/

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