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Consultation and Leadership – Leaders like Nelson Mandela knew instinctively when NOT to consult …!

For those who have been glued to television screens to follow the various commemorations of the life of the former South African President, a frequent refrain will have been the leadership he displayed when negotiating the end of the apartheid regime.

The story is told that at critical moments in the lengthy dialogue, Mandela deliberately avoided consulting his colleagues in the ANC. There are suggestions that both FW de Klerk and Mandela at times had to negotiate bilaterally, without recourse to their wider constituencies … or stakeholders. Indeed it is a finely balanced judgement as to when to go back to one’s wider group, and when to move forward without their endorsement. Experts in conflict resolution recognise the need to balance legitimacy of a negotiating position with the opportunities to achieve genuine and deliverable compromise.


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About the Author

Rhion Jones is considered a leading authority on Public Engagement and Consultation. A founding Director of the Consultation Institute, he is co-author of “The Art of Consultation” (2009) and “The Politics of Consultation” (2018). He has delivered over 500 training courses and Masterclasses and is a prolific writer on the subject, having written over 350 different Topic papers and over 50 full Briefing Papers for the Institute. Since 2003 over 15,000 person-days of training based on courses he invented have been delivered. Rhion is in demand as an entertaining Keynote Speaker and Special Adviser, particularly on the Law of Consultation, and its implications for Government and other Public Bodies. In 2017, he was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’.

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