Essay about Lincoln on Leadership

1125 Words Jun 13th, 2008 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 idea
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Philips brings to light that once you lose the confidence of others you can never regain their trust. Bruce Avolio (2005) in his book Leadership Development in the Balance backs this principal by the statement, “There is no doubt that the bar has shifted upward in terms of what is required of leaders to build trust, as well as the impact their mistake has on our trust in them” (pg. 124). Both writers are calling our attention to the fact that we need leaders of integrity in their public leadership as well as their private lives. This life of integrity inspires trust, honesty, and loyalty in those that follow this type of leader. The third key section of leadership is in endeavor. A principal of praise and sharing the brunt of responsibilities from mistakes with followers has been discuss several times in other books as well as my current Ethical Leadership Class. Phillips (pg. 103) points out this principal with, “When a subordinate did a good job, Lincoln praised, complimented, and rewarded the individual. On the other hand, he shouldered responsibility when mistakes were made.” This aspect of praising and shouldering responsibility causes followers to take risks and to be innovating in their approach to the corporate mission and vision. This inspires people around the leader to learn and grow and maybe have the confidence to be a change agent not just a yes person. The fourth key aspect is…