To be trusted across barriers. Certainly a goal worth striving for in times of social, political and organisational change. Leadership of the highest order must surely be one that builds unity on difference.
Trust in a divided context
Nelson Mandela died a year ago today. He devoted his life, and forfeited his freedom, to bringing unity to South Africa. His legacy was a blueprint for leading in a way that inspired trust across divisions.
Reflecting on what Nelson Mandela represented gives us a glimpse of what is needed in a leadership that transcends difference. First there was the courage to stand firm for equality, even though it often meant standing alone. Then there was the compassion and understanding which enabled him to forgive those who had acted against his efforts.
Both political and systemic, the divisions can be traced back to 1948 when the Afrikaner National Party won the general election under the slogan “apartheid”.