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Leadership Communication

Project Type

College Assignment

Assignment Description

This assignment required me to select a leader and analyze how their leadership style influenced communication throughout their career. In this regard, I chose to write about Nelson Mandela because I admire his exceptional leadership qualities and his practice of transformational leadership. Mandela exemplified all of the fantastic qualities and traits a leader should have. I wish to carry his inspiration throughout my career in possibly leading a team in my future profession. 

Leadership Communication



Angelina Robles

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Grand Canyon University

COM 456

Professor Rockley

February 26th, 2023


Leadership style

"It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership."- Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela's legacy of leadership and courage inspires people globally, making him one of the most respected figures in recent history. His transformational leadership style motivated individuals to take ownership of their convictions and inspired them to become leaders (PennState, 2013). Mandela's upbringing in South Africa shaped his worldview. It instilled in him a desire to end the injustices of racial segregation and discrimination, inspiring him to work toward a future where all people are treated equally, regardless of skin color (PennState, 2013). Despite spending twenty-seven years in jail for his activism against racial discrimination, Mr. Mandela's conviction and strength inspired his country to elect him as their first black president and earned him the Nobel Peace Prize (PennState, 2013).

Mandela possessed intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, idealized influence, and inspirational motivation (Ugochukwu, 2023). Leaders who practice transformational leadership have the ability to inspire their followers, driven by their emotional intelligence, which enables them to establish a strong connection and raise motivation and morality (PennState, 2013). The effectiveness of transformational leadership is tied to the leader's perception of their team, necessitating traits such as trustworthiness, humility, charisma, and a genuine willingness to listen to and value the ideas of others (Ugochukwu, 2023). A leader like Mandela, who spoke with conviction, inspires confidence in their followers, letting them know a capable individual is leading them.

Communication with the transformational leadership style is very open and collaborative (Hopping, 2022). They prioritize collaboration and work closely with their teams, involving them in every decision and action to create a shared sense of purpose. Transformational leaders possess excellent active listening skills and can clearly convey their goals and vision (Hopping, 2022). For example, Nelson Mandela had a vision of eliminating racism, which he consistently championed throughout his entire career and encouraged others to support and fight for the same vision. He referred to himself as a "humble servant of you, the people," demonstrating his humility and modesty. In addition, Mandela demonstrated a lot of empathy toward his supporters because he experienced many of the same challenges and obstacles they faced (PennState, 2013).

Facilitating effective communication

Mandela truly exemplified how transformational leaders communicate. However, effective communication requires the implementation of specific systems and processes. This includes regular meetings to share your message and goals, active listening, empathetic responses to understand others better, and a powerful message that inspires and motivates your team (STU Edu, 2022). The leader has to create a collaborative and team-oriented environment with their followers (Crawford & Strohkirch, 2020). When individuals feel that their opinions are valued and respected, they are more likely to feel invested in the success of the movement (Crawford & Strohkirch, 2020). In addition, exceptional leaders exhibit social awareness and empathy toward others. According to Developmental Dimensions International, empathy is the most critical leadership skill( Landry, 2019). This can be achieved by holding regular meetings, soliciting feedback, and actively listening to others to ensure everyone feels heard and understood. (Crawford & Strohkirch, 2020). Mandela once said, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart." He recognized the significance of showing empathy towards others, regardless of their views, and was committed to building relationships, collaborating, and connecting with individuals from different backgrounds and beliefs. Likewise, transformational leadership is about helping followers evaluate to a new level of morality. Leaders do this by challenging people to grow beyond their current beliefs, understandings, and potential by helping them to put their personal and collective values in perspective (Crawford & Strohkirch, 2020).

To lead transformationally, it is essential to have a powerful message that can inspire and motivate your followers. The message Nelson Mandela conveyed was compelling and impactful around the world. He did this by showing that he preserved and triumphed over his fears despite his challenges and obstacles. Despite experiencing the harsh reality of imprisonment in his fight against racial discrimination, his determination resulted in a triumphal justice (Penn State, 2013). Mandela's message was not only conveyed through his actions but through his words too. He could give the most powerful speeches and is famous for his historical quotes. A quote that epitomized his message and why he fought so hard for equality throughout his life: "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, background, or religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." Hate and discrimination have been significant issues both historically and currently. If more people had the same traits and beliefs as Nelson Mandela, there would be more peace and equality worldwide.



Limiting conflict

Being completely transparent and maintaining moral character as a transformational leader will help reduce conflict. Nelson Mandela represented what this meant and has multiple examples of this. One of the most significant is that he refused a conditional release from prison, agreeing to renounce the protest and fight against racial discrimination (SAHO, 1985). Mandela famously stated, "What freedom am I being offered while the organization of the people remains banned? What freedom am I being offered if I must ask permission to live in an urban area? Only free men can negotiate. Prisoners cannot enter into contracts." The president's discriminatory request of Mandela directly opposed everything he had fought for throughout his life and urged others to do the same, so he quickly refused to comply (SAHO, 1985). Instead, he sustained his moral values and chose to remain imprisoned to pursue further his mission to end racial discrimination and segregation. This showed everyone where his priorities were, who he was as a person, and that he would rather be locked in a cell than go against his ethical principles and beliefs. 

If Mandela had accepted the conditional release from prison, it would have dismissed his credibility as a genuine leader of this movement, resulting in a loss of trust from his followers and showing that everything he did and said previously in support of the movement was invalid. The transparency of a person's words is only measured by the sincerity of their actions in demonstrating their honesty to inspire belief in a vision (Crawford & Strohkirch, 2020). A candid leader is not afraid to have difficult conversations, shows vulnerability, cares about the well-being of others, is honest, maintains composure, keeps promises, and is aware of the moods and emotions of others (University of Florida, n.d.). By following the transformational leadership approach, Nelson Mandela could effectively prevent conflicts and point his followers toward a shared mission by being completely transparent and maintaining moral character (Crawford & Strohkirch, 2020).





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Hopping, L. (2022, November 8). How to have good communication skills in business so you can achieve success. Transformational Institute. From,the%20formulation%20of%20the%20vision.

Landry , L. (2019, April 3). Emotional intelligence in leadership: Why it's important. Business Insights Blog. From

PennState. (2013, July 1). Home. Leadership. From

SAHO. (1985, January 31). President P. W. Botha offers Nelson Mandela conditional release from prison. South African History Online. From

STU Edu. (2022, June 16). What is transformational leadership? ideas produce results. STU. From

Ugochukwu, C. (2023, April 21). Transformational leadership theory: How to inspire and motivate. Simply Psychology. From

University of Florida . (n.d.). Creating a culture of transparency - University of Florida. Maximize your leadership potential: Build Trust. From

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