In discussions, Nelson Mandela would gather people together, let everyone else have their say, then speak last.

According to 10 examples of tremendous business leadership Mandela took the idea from his adoptive father Chief Jongintaba.

Chief Jongintaba was a tribal king, and would frequently hold meetings of the court. Men from all walks of life would gather in a circle and express their opinion. The Chief waited until every everyone had spoken before he would enter the conversation.

In the early 1990s, New Zealand government training agency Training Works in Wellington took a similar Maori-inspired approach to staff meetings.

Each morning the boss, Richard Norman, would gather staff in a circle.  Then going a clockwise direction everyone had to say a few words about what they were doing. People couldn’t respond or discuss comments until everyone had spoken.

Update: I’ve been asked why you might want to hold Mandela-like meetings.

The answer is simple: leadership. Mandela’s inclusive meeting style demonstrates leadership – drawing on other people’s skills and ability while treating them with respect.

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