Keith Fowler

Nelson Mandela – lessons we can learn from an emotionally intelligent leader

We recently passed the anniversary of what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, and at that time it seemed as though the whole world was reflecting on his impact. In my view, one of the most important aspects of Mandela’s personality was his emotional intelligence, and it’s something that I strive to learn from.

Mandela served 27 years in jail, in the notoriously vicious prisons of the apartheid era in South Africa, but he was able to use this experience for the positive. Biographer Anthony Sampson writes that during his time in jail, “he developed the art of politics: how to relate to all kinds of people, how to persuade and cajole, how to turn his warders into dependents and how to become master in his own prison.”

This is no mean feat. Most of us would fold under this immense pressure, but Mandela’s emotional intelligence helped him to rise to the occasion and prepare himself for a life of politics and to continue his human rights activism. So, if like me you’re keen to build your own Nelson Mandela sense of EQ, try focusing on developing these following points.

Nelson Mandela was one of the 20th century’s truest heroes, and we can learn so much from his leadership capabilities. Reflect on what you can do today to emulate his example.

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