10 Great Leadership Quotes From Nelson Mandela

I was a bit taken aback when I learned Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5th, 2013. The man had become a living legend with what he had gone through.

As happens to every man, death caught up to him. Though he’s passed from this world, he’s left a legacy through his leadership and personal philosophies.

In honor of the life Nelson Mandela lived, I wanted to share 10 leadership quotes attributed to the man.

1. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

2. 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.

3. There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. (Tweet this!)

4. We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

5. Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will. (Tweet this!)

6. I am confident that nobody… will accuse me of selfishness if I ask to spend time, while I am still in good health, with my family, my friends and also with myself.

7. It is wise to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea.

8. I have retired, but if there’s anything that would kill me it is to wake up in the morning not knowing what to do.

9. There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people the right way.

10. A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.

And let’s toss in a bit of a bonus. An additional 5 leadership quotes from Nelson Mandela.

11. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

12. I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.

13. Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.

14. One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.

15. After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. (Tweet this!)

If you’d like to find out more about Nelson Mandela, check out these books that tell his story –

1. Long Walk To Freedom: The Autobiography Of Nelson Mandela

2. Conversations With Myself

3. DK Biography: Nelson Mandela

4. Mandela: An Illustrated Autobiography

5. Nelson Mandela: The Authorized Comic Book

Question: What’s your favorite Nelson Mandela quote? Please share it in the comments section below.

Follow Me

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.