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3Comparison of Two Leaders

Comparison of Two Leaders


Leadership is termed as the position of power that is held by an individual and the position offers them with the opportunity to exercise his or her interpersonal influence in the employees or people working under him in that he mobilizes and direct their efforts towards the achievement of certain goals. Thus, in most instances, the leader is usually at the centre of the power structure in the organization and he keeps people together, infuses life in them and moves them towards the attainment of goals and at the same time maintains their momentum. This essays sets put to compare two leaders and in this case a comparison will be made between Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi and in doing so there will be a discussion of the attributes that have made the leaders successful, there will also be a discussion of the weaknesses that the leaders have portrayed and lastly a comparison based on what they have achieved considering the environment they have succeeded in.


There are a number of attributes that made both Mandela and Gandhi successful leaders. For instance Nelson Mandela portrayed a great sense of self-awareness in this regard he knew the role that every situation called for and he was also able to recognize how people viewed him. Nelson Mandela also had a lot of humility. Successful leaders do not act based on their egos when accomplishing their mission. Mandela was very humble and this made it easier for him to interact with others despite their social standing in the society. Another attribute that made him successful is his forgiving attitude and not keeping grudges. For example, during his inauguration he invited a former guard at the prison and also shred his Noble peace prize with F.W. de Clerk who was his predecessor (Glad & Blanton 1997). By doing so he set a good example to others on how the nation needed to move forward for a better future. Mandela was also persevering, tenacious and committed to the achievement of his mission. This is clearly evident with the many years he spent in prison, critics he faced from his party and from other leaders in the world. But despite all these, he was determined to achieve his mission and never turned back on his journey to liberate his country (Soudien 2015). In addition to the attributes that made Mandela a successful leader he also had some weaknesses. A very good example of his weakness is that he was greatly affected y his decision of serving the people of his country and this shows that his county came frost before his family (Suttner 2014). In this regard when he was imprisoned he had no opportunity to attend his sons and mother’s funeral.

Gandhi also has a number of attributes that makes him success as a leader in that he learned from his own mistakes. Mahatma Gandhi was not perfect at times he had held on notion that were not right but the best thing is that he was ready to change to a better person when he relapsed he had made mistakes. When he failed he learned from these failures and achieved success y being a better person in the future (Johnson & Gandhi 2006). Gandhi also hand faith and he believed in himself. Based on these, they believed that he had a great responsibility he had to undertake that of making his country free and thus he ensured his actions were aimed at attaining the freedom of India. Since he believed in himself he also triggered the faith of a great number of people kin him and most especially those in India. Gandhi also showed high level of persistence and resistance. It was not an easy task for him to lead the independence movement in a country as huge as India and more so through the use of non-violence means against the violence means and the cruel nature of the British army. Despite these attributes Gandhi also had a number of weaknesses. Though he labored tirelessly to forge closer bonds between the Hindu majority and the Muslims as well as with the minorities he failed greatly. As a matter of fact, he failed to dissuade the India Muslims from forming a separate state (Khan 2007).

A major similarity between the two leaders is that they were both imprisoned. Initially Gandhi was in great support of the racial segregation that was talking place in South Africa, but he was later enlightened to the plight of the downtrodden individuals and this played a great role in his change of his world view. Due to their experiences both leaders embraced brotherhood, unity as well as hope and this acted as the cornerstone of their views towards humanity (Suttner 2014). Both leaders were mainly guided by the inner revelations to advocate and make use of non-violent approaches in regard to social change and thus they projected their deeply held beliefs for the sake of enhancing and ensuring that mass change took place (Johnson & Gandhi 2006).

While Mandela was thought to be more political when it came to his ambitions Gandhi was mainly associated with a nationalist revival they also shared another major similarity in regard to how they viewed self-determination. Both of them promoted the right of the society to self-rule and thus they advocate for all classes of people in the society (Brown & Parel 2011). Despite the similarities both of them showed some difference in that they had parallel views when it come to each citizens personal rights on matters of self-freedom they draw on the value attributed to manual labor as well as the grounded pursuits to support their diverging views.


In conclusion, it is evident that Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were successful and effective leaders during their time. Therefore, individuals aspiring to become successful and effective leaders in future needs to take on the attributes that made Gandhi and Mandela great leaders and avoid those weaknesses that they were criticized for. It would also be essential to note that leaders can be effective when they make use of non-violent ways in resolving nay issues that they may be having and this will help them on gaining great support from the masses.


Brown, J & Parel, A 2011, The Cambridge Companion to Gandhi, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Glad, B & Blanton, R 1997, ‘F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela: A Study in Cooperative Transformational Leadership’, Presidential Studies Quarterly, vol.27, no. 3, pp. 565–590.

Johnson, R & Gandhi, M 2006, Gandhi’s Experiments with Truth: Essential Writings by and about Mahatma Gandhi, Lexington Book, United States.

Khan, Y 2007, The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan, Yale University Press, Yale.

Soudien, C 2015, ‘Nelson Mandela, Robben Island and the Imagination of a New South Africa;, Journal of Southern African Studies, vol.41, no. 2, pp. 353–366.

Suttner, R 2014, ‘Nelson Mandela’s Masculinities’, African Identities, vol. 12, no. 3–4, pp. 342–356