Invictus – Power of Conscience

A candidate’s Character Type determines how he or she believes the world works and how the candidate defines his or her role in the world as a leader.  Clinton and Obama each have a unique and contradictory philosophy.
Nine Character Type analysis works because it is drawn from real life and real people, and from how people actually clash in ordinary and extraordinary circumstances.  For example–
Although candidates may try to massage their message based on polls and trends, a character’s fundamental understanding of the world and leadership does not change. If you look at how a candidate frames the issues, what slogan the candidate picks and the major themes in a candidate’s speeches, his or her Character Type becomes clear.
No Character Type is inherently good or bad, an excellent leader or a poor one; but each is profoundly different from the others.  Each sees different challenges, opportunities and threats and each views the world and his or her role as a leader from a unique perspective.

395651The excellent film, Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela is a great study in Power of Conscience leadership.

The Power of Conscience character leads by showing fairness, firmness, consistency, justice and providing a good example.  These leaders believe that they have responsibility for others and a duty to protect the rights of all.  They are particularly sensitive to those who are disenfranchised, disadvantaged, disabled or unable to fight for themselves.  When he defeated the white Afrikaners politically he felt bound to protect their rights and interests as well.  These characters believe that equality and the rule of law is humankind’s salvation.

Power of Conscience leaders tell potential supporters: “Follow me.  I know what’s right.  I will be just.  I will be fair.  I will be responsible.”  They argue:  “Come along and fight the good fight.  Do what is right.  Justice will prevail.  Don’t argue.  I know the right path to take.”

The insistence that they know what is right can get these leaders into trouble with supporters.   This scene in Invictus, illustrates Power of Conscience leadership philosophy very succinctly.

As in Invictus, Power of Conscience characters tend to personalize their work, making their mission to improve the world an inseparable part of their own identity.  In life, Mandela has said:  “The struggle IS my life.”

An unwillingness to compromise on moral ground is the hallmark of these leaders.  In life, Mandela never compromised his principles to avoid punishment.  He refused several opportunities to get out of jail, which required him to recant or renounce one of his stands on justice or equal rights.

The best Power of Conscience leaders are “servant leaders” who have  the humility to serve the greater good of others. Power of Conscience leaders teach their followers to lead by example and to be of service themselves.  This is illustrated in a wonderful scene with Matt Damon, playing Springboks captain Francois Pienaar, where the two men talk of leading by example.  Mandela poses the essential Power of Conscience question, “How do you inspire a people to be better than they think they are?”

Improving themselves, others and the world at large is of paramount importance to Power of Conscience characters.  They are disciplined, principled and challenge others to take the moral high-ground. In life, Mandela has said, “The time is always ripe to do right.”

Power of Conscience character lead by getting out in front the crowd, taking a strong principled stand (often against popular opinion) and speaking out against whatever they view as wrong, unjust, unfair or corrupt.  They understand and are willing to pay the price for acting on their beliefs.


  1. Reply Mike Johnson 27th October 2010

    Having a Power of Conscience character inserted into your narrative is a great thing, for sure. Their uncompromising morality and consistency provides a backbone around which many plots and stories can orbit.

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