It is never my custom to use words lightly. If twenty-seven years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.
The anti-apartheid revolutionary politician and the most empowering statesman, Nelson Mandela has been the epitome of inspiration for every aspiring entrepreneur. While determined to overturn apartheid, the leadership lessons from Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, have been the milestones in the realm of entrepreneurship also and all the entrepreneurs at some point of time, look up to him as the avant-garde.
Here are some leadership lessons from Nelson Mandela that can have an immense positive impact over the lives of the entrepreneurs and their businesses:
1. Difficulties break people and opportunities make people
Having one’s own startup business clearly implies that the path of the journey is going to be full of difficulties. It is never an easy cake walk or a path of rose petals. From Nelson Mandela, entrepreneurs should learn to overcome the difficulties while building the path towards success. The road of difficulties starts with building one’s own business strong and steady enough to compete with the existing business companies and eventually leading towards victory. At every step of this journey is difficulty which if considered as an opportunity will end up into success and making people rather than breaking them.
2. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
While confronting with so many difficulties, it is extremely important for the entrepreneurs to be ready with a very important principle, i.e. planning. Without planning entrepreneurs fail to accomplish their target. In order to build and run a successful business, planning beforehand is a very important aspect. It helps in organizing and accumulating all the ideas, sorting out the necessary steps to execute the ideas and going on with it in a more structured way.
3. Don’t call any work impossible until it is performed
There are times when people will discourage an entrepreneur by making remarks like , “the task is impossible.” Or even sometimes, the entrepreneurs themselves feel the work to be absolutely impossible and think they are unable to perform it. The leadership lessons from Nelson Mandela should make the entrepreneurs understand that impossible is just a big fat word; it is not a true fact. “Impossible is temporary, impossible is nothing”. The art lies in turning everything into “possible”. Nelson Mandela has seen “I m possible” in “Impossible”, and according to him unless and until one attempts to perform the work, calling it impossible is the worst thing to do.
4. It’s good to be better and not bitter
Nelson Mandela was behind the bars for 27 years. But the imprisonment made him a better leader and not a bitter individual filled with revenge. According to him an entrepreneur should always find common grounds by embracing his/her enemy and competitors in the business market. Being revengeful doesn’t lead to a healthy competition nor it does exemplify a good leader. A leader should be positive, open minded, all-withstanding and a forward thinker.
5. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it
Before considering anything else regarding the startup business, an entrepreneur should consider how to master fear which he/she is going to face at every step. Starting from developing the business ideas to handling the first customer, from exploring market strategies to scaling business success— fear is everywhere. There can be fear of the unknown future as well as the fear of failure. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how many challenges one has to overcome in running a business or how many times one has to perform the same repetitive tasks, courage is one ultimate thing that an entrepreneur should never get rid of. Being courageous doesn’t mean that one doesn’t have fear anymore. Courage is just the key to win over fears.
6. “There is no passion in playing small”
One of the most important leadership lessons from Nelson Mandela is the passion to utilize power and the inherent passion that the entrepreneurs have and to aim for something big and not something which any normal person can achieve. Even a small scale business should have the power to accomplish big goals, to take big risks and to live a professional life king size. The entrepreneurs are certainly not the costumed superheroes who fight against the prevalent crimes in society but they have an even bigger responsibility— to shape and change the society and thus the world.
7. Leaders also have the right to quit
This is perhaps the best of all the leadership lessons from Nelson Mandela that an entrepreneur can learn. While running startup businesses, entrepreneurs go through a lot of hurdles and pressures. And sometimes the situation also might just go out of hand and calls for the toughest decision to quit the business for saving it from bigger losses. Sometimes even the leaders have the right to quit and especially when that is the only rational thing to opt for.
8. Judge a person by his failure and come back not by his success
As the cliché goes, behind every successful story there is some failure. And the cliché is certainly true. It is like the story of Robert Bruce and the spider all over again. According to Nelson Mandela’s words, success is nothing but the byproduct of all the failures and come backs a leader goes through. And no doubt this philosophy is apt for the entrepreneurs as well. There are both types of successes. In one success happens without bearing many odds whereas the other one is the result of crossing numerous hurdles, falling, getting up and going on with the journey. Without giving a second thought, the latter is worth judging than the first one.
Last but certainly not the least of the leadership lessons from Nelson Mandela is the act of communication entrepreneurs should get indulged into. A business depends on its customers without whom the business loses its meaning and purpose. Therefore, keeping good relations with the customers is one of the key responsibilities of the entrepreneurs. And for that having command over good communication is extremely important. However, it might sound simple but the actual process takes a lot of effort to be proven as effective. Keeping the customers happy is a good sign for a healthy business.
The pioneer of all leaders, Nelson Mandela is the role model for all the entrepreneurs. By following these 9 leadership lessons from Nelson Mandela, the path for success and victory will certainly widen enough for your business venture. Though he isn’t with us today, his principles and philosophies will always continue to guide us at different stages of business and life!