Lincoln as leader: Our most accesible president
Title: Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times
Author: Donald T. Phillips
Publisher: Warner Books, 1993
ISBN: 978-0446394598, 188 pages
Review: Lincoln on Leadership
By Rolf Dobelli, Chairman, getAbstract
Donald T. Phillips has written a solid and engaging book. It has been hailed by critics and leaders in business, sports, and every other arena as a common sense masterpiece of historical and character analysis. The book is divided into key lessons, each representing an aspect of President Abraham Lincoln's leadership style, as revealed through his words and actions. A beautifully written intimate history, the book shows Lincoln in action. The discussion reveals clearly how any leader can apply Lincoln's timeless principles about communication, character, endeavor, and people. getAbstract recommends this read to anyone interested in leadership, Lincoln, or history.
Abraham Lincoln is consistently ranked as the greatest president the United States ever had. He is considered the greatest leader the nation has "ever known or will ever know." Lincoln represented the best of the leadership qualities that helped form the nation. He "stood for all that was right, honest, and self-evident."
As a young boy, he studied the Founding Fathers, those leaders who called for independence and then created a nation devoted to human rights. He believed in their idealism and wanted to see it in action. "He was innovative at a time when the age of discoveries and inventions was just beginning." He was compassionate, decisive, patient, persistent, consistent, and persuasive. The foundation of Lincoln's leadership style was "an unshakeable commitment to the rights of the individual."
The Lincoln principles
During his four years as president, the Civil War was his focus. By the time he took office, seven states had already left the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. Lincoln was assassinated just days after the war ended with the Confederate Army's surrender. So, during his presidency, Lincoln spent most of his time among his troops and at key government offices coordinating the war effort. He met regularly with his generals and cabinet members, with Congress, and with the wounded at hospitals. This kind of hands-on personal approach was typical of his leadership style. He was probably the most accessible president the U.S. has ever had.
"The Lincoln Principles" concerning people are based upon entering your subordinates' environment personally and frequently. This creates a sense of commitment, collaboration, and community, and helps you gain the information you need to make effective decisions. These principles include:
• Explaining yourself in writing and offering advice on solving problems.
• Having contact with subordinates in casual ways, not just at formal gatherings.
• Seeing people who call on you.
• Being informed of public opinion.
• Setting a good example and leading by example.
• Discouraging a fear of leaders, but encouraging respect.
• Building strong alliances.
• Gaining followers' trust by showing them you are firm, resolute, and committed to performing your duties.
• Taking the time to understand human nature.
• Showing that you are compassionate and caring.
• Remembering that if you extinguish hope you create desperation.
• Waging only one war at a time.
• Using force only as a last resort.
• Remembering that your followers want to believe that what they do is their own idea, and that it makes a difference.
• Seeking the consent of your followers for you to lead them.
• Delegating responsibility and authority.
• Consulting frequently with the heads of your departments.
• Requesting or suggesting rather than issuing orders.
Principles of character
Abraham Lincoln was given the nickname "Honest Abe" when he was a young man, and owned and ran a general store in New Salem, Illinois. Lincoln's reputation for honesty and integrity was not just a myth. It remains unblemished today...
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