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Providing Leadership- Inspiring Greatness

September 10, 2012

D&B Consulting

I  am a film junkie.  For me, films serve as a way to gain strength and inspiration. So I was intrigued when I received an email from “The Leaders’s Beacon” that incorporated a clip from the movie, “Invictus” starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. It  was part of an  article asking “What is your Pholosophy of Leadership?”  In this movie Freeman plays the role of South African President Nelson Mandela and Damon plays the role of Francois Pienaar, the captain of the Springbok rugby team. The movie follows Mandela and Francois over the next year as the team prepares for the World Cup in South Africa.
This article dscribes  a leadership philosophy as  the “blueprint for how you live your life, how you run your company, and how you treat others.”
In the clip, Mandela asks Francois about his philosphy of leadership. Francois replies that he leads by example.
1. What is your philosophy of leadership?
As the clip continues, Mandela  focuses on how a leader inspires other to greatness. He shares his inspiration for  how he endured durng the darkest  times of his imprisonment  at Robben Island. It was  the poem “Invictus” by  the Victorian English poet Willima Earnest Henley. From Wikpedia: At the age of 12 Henley contracted tuberculosis of the bone that  progressed to his foot a few years later. When he was 17 his leg was  amputated  directly below the knee.  Stoicism inspired him to write this poem. Despite his disability, he survived with one foot intact and led an active life until his death at the age of 53.
“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”
Mandela wanted to unite his country.  He determined that one way to accomplish that goal was if the Springbok team could win the World Cup, which was to be hosted by South Africa the following year.   First had the vision, then he set an example for Francois. Francois was able to embrace the vision that it was indeed possible for his team to win the World Cup.  The film takes us through the year as Francois  finds ways to inspire his team to greatness and to go on the win the World Cup, which served the greater goal of uniting a country once torn by apartheid.
2. In what ways do you  inspire yourself to greatness?  How do you  inspire others?
As demonstrated in this film based on a true life story, it is critical  that you first  know what you want. Then you must believe in your goal, and then find ways to inspire yourself and other to greatness- to achieve more than you and your employees ever imagined
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