Jun 21 2016

Leaders that make a Difference – Part 1.

It is often said that the main difference between leaders and managers is that leaders work with their teams while managers make the team work for them. Here are three such leaders who made a difference, not just to their organisation, but also served as a beacon of inspiration for the world in general.

Nelson Mandela                                                           

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Photo courtesy of researchguides.library.wisc.edu

One of the most recognisable figures in modern history, Nelson Mandela is a true citizen of the world. He had a vision, stayed true to it, fought for his cause through non violent means and spent long years in prison for his ideas. Even from prison, he led and continued his fight against discrimination.

Apartheid was a system of racial segregation and discrimination in South Africa. Nelson Mandela fought against it and also inspired millions to do the same. He was released in the year 1990, after spending 27 years behind bars. As fate would have it, he became the first black person to become president of South Africa.

His funeral in 2013 was probably the most powerful and moving ceremony we have seen in modern times. His influence as a leader, a father, and a symbol of non violent resistance will always endure. His message that equality is the only way forward will forever ring out in annals of history.

Lessons we can learn from Mandela:

After taking up the President’s mantle, he practised what he preached. After he became president, he ensured that his people did not go for revenge or hit back at the system that suppressed him and his people for so long.

Oprah Winfrey

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Photo courtesy of oprah.com

On the surface, Oprah seems very innocuous but to those who have followed her life and her rise from the streets, her life is nothing short of spectacular. She was born on a farm in Mississippi. She later moved with her mother to Milwaukee where she fared badly. There, she was the victim of horrific abuse. She went through a pregnancy in her teens. Eventually, she ran away from the house and landed up at her dad’s house.

It was here that her life took a turn for the better and she grew to be one of the biggest influencers in the world. She has figured on several ‘most powerful people’ lists and is also an opinion maker.

She is the wealthiest African American person in the world, among the first self made women millionaires and is a person who is loved throughout the country. She is an inspiration for women everywhere.

Lessons we can learn from Oprah Winfrey:

As tough as life can be, it can always be turned around, in one of her most famous quotes, she says, ‘Turn your wounds into wisdom’. We really should.

The Dalai Lama

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Photo courtesy of tibet.net

The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He is among the few forces that the Chinese fear; who is keeping the Tibetan fight for freedom alive and passionate.

He is also the spiritual mentor of the Tibetan government in exile and a source of inspiration to his people and all those who follow his work. He is known as a person who exudes peace and calm wherever he goes and a living symbol of non violent protest.

Lessons we can learn from The Dalai Lama:

He spreads the word of kindness at all times, his message can be summed up into a simple phrase- ‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible‘.

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