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In episode 38 of my podcast/blog, I want to discuss the leadership qualities of Abraham Lincoln. He overcame obstacles and was a great leader. I have learned great lessons from him. His leadership qualities have set excellent and inspirational examples for me to follow.
This will be part 2 of this series. Several years ago, I read a book titled Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips. This is one of the best books on leadership that I have ever read. As I mentioned in Part 1, Ernest Shackleton, the author of Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill had an imaginary mastermind group. Because of his incredible leadership qualities, Abraham Lincoln was part of that group.
Napoleon Hill created his mastermind group out of people who had the characteristics he admired. They all have characteristics that I would like to emulate in my life. They are great leaders, overcame enormous obstacles, and set great examples. I always learn something by reading about them.
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Abraham Lincoln’s Leadership Qualities
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, and grew up in poverty. He was self-educated and eventually became a lawyer. There are many tales of Lincoln and his successes and failures before he became the 16th President of the United States.
He inherited the nightmare of a Union which was severely divided from President James Buchanan. Before he took the oath of office, seven states had already succeeded from the union to form the Confederate States of America. Buchanan had already given up hope of holding the country together. He did nothing at the end of his term to try to repair the division that was happening in this country. Congress also did nothing to defeat the growing rebellion.
Lincoln was the country’s first Republican President and he was elected by a minority vote. He was disliked in Washington because he was an outsider. The media and the people saw him as a second-rate country lawyer. They thought he was ill-equipped and unable to handle the presidency. No one could predict the unparalleled strength of leadership he possessed.
The Leadership Qualities Of Abraham Lincoln:
He would get out and circulate among the troops.
Honesty and integrity are the best policies.
Courage to handle unjust criticism.
Being open-minded and flexible.
Setting goals and being results-oriented.
He believed that the organization takes on the personality of its top leader.
Lincoln believed in leading from the front. He was hardly ever in the oval office. If you wanted to find him you should start in the War Department. That’s where he spent most of his time. He would go to the field and circulate among the troops. He wanted to know what they were going through. This gave him first-hand knowledge to make accurate decisions. He went to the field to observe or take charge of several battle situations and even came under fire at least once.
To Lincoln, a leader shows compassion. The leader knows the job of his lowest subordinates and treats everyone the same. Lincoln spent many days visiting the hospitals and talking to the wounded. He spoke no differently to a private than he did to one of his generals.
Lincoln believed that the best way to lead is with honesty and integrity. The government exists to elevate the condition of man. It is there to level the playing field and allow man to climb the ladder of success. He was not kind to politicians taking kickbacks. Many of his appointed cabinet members were fired for lack of honesty and integrity.
Lincoln showed an amazing amount of courage over an extended time. He survived defeats in his life and also at the beginning of the Civil War. He took risks and never played it safe. The faith he had in himself was unmatched. He knew his decisions were the right ones and didn’t need to be told by others.
Impervious To Criticism
Great leaders will be subjected to severe criticism from all sides just because of their position. They will suffer attacks on their honor and character. Lincoln was no different. He was slandered and criticized by the media, the public, and the Union he was trying to save. Southern sympathizers, members of Congress, and even some from within his own Republican Party verbally attacked him.
Lincoln didn’t allow the attacks to deter him from his definite purpose of saving the Union. He overcame all his critics to secure victory in the war. Not only did he preserve the nation but he also reorganized the military and renewed the spirit of patriotism in America. He is best known for the Emancipation Proclamation, abolishing slavery in the United States.
Lincoln led with consistency in how he treated people and his interactions with cabinet members. He was very consistent with how he administered and managed the government. He did whatever it took to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.
Lincoln was decisive and bold in his decisions. Many of the decisions he made were not popular but he knew they were necessary for victory. At the beginning of the war, the Union was undermanned. President Buchanan had decimated the military by cutting the budget. Lincoln knew that he would need a call for troops and enacted conscription.
His bold decision to direct a blockade of the Confederate states was necessary to cut off supplies. Probably his most unpopular decision was declaring martial law. In addition, he also suspended the writ of habeas corpus, giving the military the power to arrest without charges. Lincoln would not waiver on this decision. He felt it was necessary to protect against spies and traitors.
Lincoln was open-minded and flexible. He always listened to his subordinates. If their decisions were not what he had in mind, he would explain the shortcomings. But, if their ideas matched his, he would let them proceed as if it was their idea.
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Arguably his greatest leadership trait was setting goals and being results-oriented. Lincoln had always persevered and used his failures as lessons to learn from. He had the ability to turn certain defeat into a decisive victory. At the beginning of his presidency, Lincoln had one ultimate goal, preserving the United States of America.
The leadership qualities of Abraham Lincoln are best summed up with one trait. Like all great leaders, Lincoln knew that the organization takes on the personality of its top leader. Lincoln displayed all of the traits listed above to determine his personality. By setting the example of a great leader, Lincoln led the Union to persevere and overcome great odds, and securing victory.
In conclusion, the leadership qualities of Abraham Lincoln are unmatched. He was a great man and remarkable leader. I hope you enjoyed this post. If so, here is some homework for you. First, like this post. Second, leave a comment. I enjoy reading your comments. Third, Follow my blog. Fourth, subscribe to my email list. Fifth, Check out my courses. The button is above. Lastly, subscribe to my podcast. It is on many platforms. You can find them below the player above.
All the best! Scott