Who could be a more amazing example of civility in leadership than the late Nelson Mandela? Who is more entitled to justified anger than one who is persecuted and falsely imprisoned? Yet, instead of allowing the trials of oppression and imprisonment to embitter him, Mandela chose forgiveness and genuine civility. Instead of wishing for the destruction of his oppressors, Mandela found a way to genuinely empower all those around him to succeed and thrive. As the man himself said, “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”
Another insight that Mandela had was understanding one of the most important ways to build community and camaraderie. He brought the ‘enemies’ to respect that they are no different than the other side, rather, they are on equal planes. Just as the three axioms mentioned above bring about that balance. Though “just a sport” the ability to get both sides of this internal war to cheer for the same soccer team was brilliant! Notice that he made sure to require the team to go to the front lines of slum areas and give coaching clinics. The players needed to meet these dear people and see that they had no right to believe that they were any better than one of these kids which by the end of the day, they had built meaningful relationships during these tours. What foresight on Mandella’s part to unify a divided country into sharing equal values which led to peace and prosperity.”
Quoted from Inger Andress book: "Kai-Zen: Breathing Life Into Leadership"