December 6, 2013 | Emily Winsauer

Workplace Reconciliation Tips from Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela Mural

Like people all over the world, we at VIEO were at once saddened by the loss of Nelson Mandela and inspired yet again by his words and legacy. Remembering his work for reconciliation, I thought it would be timely to look to his writings and speeches for guidance on how to find reconciliation in our own lives and workplaces, where many of the conflicts in our lives happen.

These quotes from the beloved former South African President inspire me to find peace, growth, and understanding in my work - I hope they help you, too!

12 Workplace Reconciliation Tips from Nelson Mandela

1. Before you judge, do your research.

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

2. Don't get beaten down by big projects.

“It always seems impossible until it's done.”

3. Bitterness is a trap.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

4. You aren't limited by your job title.

“Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.”

5. Even if you are the boss, leaders aren't always out front.

“A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

6. Empathy is a business asset.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

7. Check yourself before you wreck yourself (Okay, Mandela by way of Ice Cube).

“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself... Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.”

8. What you say matters, but so does how you say it.

“Appearances matter — and remember to smile.”

9. Take the time to build relationships.

“You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.”

10. Don't undercut yourself - have faith in your work and your team.

“One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.”

11. Now is the time to do your best work. And so it tomorrow, and the next day.

“We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”

12. Accept where you are, and build on it.

“It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

What have you learned from Nelson Mandela? Let us know in the comments!

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Emily Winsauer

Emily Winsauer

As VIEO's content director, Emily Winsauer was responsible for content strategy for VIEO and our clients for over 5 years. She recently moved to Seattle where she's still creating compelling content in her new role.

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