Lincoln on Leadership

1115 words 5 pages
Lincoln on Leadership

I start this project on Lincoln’s leadership very reluctantly. I am a history buff and have always viewed his leadership through the eyes of jaded historians. They have portrayed him as a dictator, incompetent, and a buffoon at some points. After reading the Donald T. Phillips book Lincoln on Leadership, my mindset was totally changed. This book broke down four key areas that produced an effective leader in Lincoln. These areas are character, people, endeavor, and communication. I will be sharing a principal from each key area that I found important and then conclude with an overall thought. The first key area in Lincoln’s Leadership was his interaction with people. Historians have often scoffed at the
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The first principal is to motivate through effective communication. Phillips (pg. 160) describes this principal as not just important to Lincoln but to all leaders with, “Every leader must realize that the power to motivate followers resides almost solely in the ability to communicate effectively.” This is such a simple statement but there is so much power in it. There have been people with great ambition and incredible ideas that never got any one to follow or join them because they could not communicate effectively. The second principal is communication of vision even to the point of doing it on a one to one basis. Phillips (pg. 164) discusses Lincoln’s passion for communicating his vision in the statement, “Lincoln harnessed his vision through the implementation of his own exceptional roving leadership style. He saw to it personally that the word got out.” Lincoln kept communicating his vision and mission over and over again. John Kotter (1999) in John P. Kotter on What Leaders Really Do agrees with the principal of continually sharing the vision by, “Without credible communication, and a lot of it, the hearts and minds of the troops are never captured” (pg. 83). I have failed in this principal as most organizations have done in the past. Organizations put out one memo or have a meeting and then wonder why nobody accepts or builds upon the vision of the company or project. Ken Blanchard


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