Leadership Skills, Group Styles of Nelson Mandela


The ability to lead a group of people or a whole country is basically not an easy task. Acquiring leadership skills may call for clear understanding on how to execute authority over people. However there are some individuals who obtain leadership skills right from their birth. In other words, having leadership skills can be inbuilt whereby a person learns how to take control without much guidance. Naturally, there are individuals who exhibit their leadership skills even if they did not take a management course (McManus, p. 54). For other people, this is never the case since they have to familiarize themselves with basic proficiency. As a matter of fact, not all leaders are able to display good leadership that would lead people in the right direction. A leader can be wise in the manner through which he/she makes decisions and solve various problems. On the other hand, there are quite a number of leaders who are not wise hence may fail to deliver proper governance. Preferable, a good leader is one that can make positive impact on group dynamics and group communication. Within a group dynamic, members are supposed to function in certain ways depending on their behavioral characteristics (Boehmer, p. 82). Governing dynamic groups may therefore require a leader to understand how to communicate with members of the group.

Historically, Nelson Mandela is an example of a leader who executed good leadership skills in his country. His leadership skills are still appreciated even after he completed his years of residency. Thus, many people across the globe acknowledge his tremendous work that was realized in South Africa. This paper seeks to discuss about the leadership skills and group styles of Nelson Mandela (DuBrin, p. 55). The paper also demonstrates the theories of group dynamics and group communication. Moreover the paper aims to analyze compare and contrast the dynamics, interactions and communication within various groups of people from one or more TV series.

About Nelson Mandela’s Leadership Skills

Nelson Mandela begun his leadership at a very early age and proceeded on for several years before his retirement (McManus 44). Actually Mandela started his leadership as a young boy who was keen with on how his parents were making decisions. During those days, his father would tell him about African stories that enabled him to learn more about his country. Mandela’s father was a chief among the Xhosa people of South Africa (Harari, p. 107). As such, his son was able to acquire different leadership skills from him. Every morning, Mandela would wake up very early in the morning in order to take care of his father’s cattle and sheep. Herding was one of the activities that he did while on holidays from school (DuBrin, p. 34). He also heard African stories from community elders who told him about the success of various African patriots. All these triggered his desires to start a leadership journey where he could liberate reverenced. Although there were several challenges ahead, Mandela was determined to assist his people and liberate them from apartheid regime (McManus, p. 82). Other than determination, he was also a risk taker as he courageously fought for South Africans. His bravery was also portrayed during his time of circumcision when he endured pain a fearless young man. Despite having a royal lineage he dedicated himself through assisting helpless people who were oppressed by apartheid regime. He lowered himself to the level of everyone else as he took his time to listen to them (Grint, p. 70). He identified himself with all Africans from both his tribe and other tribal groups. Unfortunately; he was arrested for 27 years though this did not hinder him from achieving his dreams. Instead, Mandela became more motivated and spent his years in prison where he learnt a lot of lessons. By the time he left prison, Mandela was ready to continue with his fight for liberation in South Africa. As a result of his courage, many South Africans were inspired to take risks without any fear (Grint 124). Eventually, Mandela was victorious and became the president of South Africa.

Group dynamics and Group Communication

Basically, group dynamics refers to the aspects which describe a group’s behavior (Harari, p. 111). On the other hand group communication refers to how members of a particular group interact with one another. Group dynamics are usually based on certain goals which are set by group leaders of group members. Within dynamic and communication groups, there are several theories that include classical theory, social exchange theory and the tuckman’s theory (DuBrin, p. 94). Classical theory is whereby groups are formed through a variety of relations and activities done by members. In this case, members of the group interact with one another as they perform several activities together (George, p. 74). For instance, Mandela was able to lead South Africans who engaged themselves into different kinds of activities. Fighting against the apartheid regime was not easy hence people had to work together towards sensitization and developing effective strategies. Mandela often encouraged his to interact with one another without any discrimination (Boehmer, p. 132).This is especially realized when diverse communities were determined to fight against apartheid regime. They all had a common goal and were more motivated by Mandela who encouraged them to fight for their rights. As a good leader, Mandela became part of the people he governed as he interacted freely with them. He always knew his weakness and strengths and so he did not hesitate to talk it out with some individuals (Harari, p. 112).

According to the social identity theory, members of a group acquire self- esteem and recognize themselves in a particular way. As such, members are committed towards identifying each other on, demographical, intellectual, or organizational basis. The tuckman’s theory is all about stages that comprise of adjourning, storming, performing, forming and norming (Koestenbaum, p. 71). When forming a dynamic group, members are usually not sure about what they really want. At this stage, a leader does not have much work to do because there are no set goals. In addition, members may not know each other and so it may be difficult to perform certain duties (Gardner, p. 47). This is contrary to the nature of Mandela’s leadership since he knew his goals right from the beginning. In other words, the forming stage was not part of Mandela’s dynamic group. In the storming stage, members tend to have so many conflicts which can be unresolved. It is therefore essential for leaders to display leadership skills that can solve such situations. Norming stage is where members of a dynamic group begin to recognize and appreciate one another (Grint, p. 101).

Performing stage entails unity of members who already know their goals and are working as a team (Harari, p. 23). The adjourning stage is often the last stage where members can choose to split or continue having their group. Disbandment of a group may occur if members of the group have achieved their end results. An example is the communal groups which were formed during the time of Mandela’s leadership. After winning over the apartheid regime, several groups were split as members went on separate ways (Gardner, p. 77).

Groups of people from one or more TV series

Normally, groups of people interact differently during TV series like the Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Bank’s show. Both the Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Bank’s show have similar characteristics. It happens that groups in both shows are devoted towards achieving their goals as a single entity. They also execute theories such as the social identity theory as they recognize themselves with a common goal. Mainly these shows are meant for interactions in which people discuss about various issues. Noticeably, there are usually different groups of people in every show. This is due to the need of having various individuals who often contribute their ideas the discussions. However, these two shows differ in the manner in which they are hosted. Each one of them is controlled by different hosts who display their own leadership skills.


It is very important for leaders to develop good leadership skills that would be aimed at governing groups of people. Leaders can also emulate people like Nelson Mandela who was dedicated to his work. Mandela did not stop until he managed to achieve his dreams. Through his bravery, many people became courageous and fought for their rights. Mandela also used some leadership theories which were part of his tremendous work. Ultimately, this is an example of a leader who was able to display good leadership skills.


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