Lincoln on Leadership

A few weeks ago I finished reading Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips.  Phillips did extensive research on Lincoln as a leader and uses his presidency as a model for leaders.  Phillips claims that Lincoln was one of the best leaders in our nations history.  He attributes his success to several styles and tactics.
First of all Lincoln didn't sit in the White House but rather circulated amongst his people, he built strong alliances, and persuaded people to get what he wanted rather than using force.  When employees believe their boss is accessible and approachable they will be more loyal and trustworthy.  "By entering your subordinate's environment- by establishing frequent human contact- you create a sense of commitment, collaboration, and community.  You also gain access to vital information necessary to make effective decisions."  Looking at Lincoln's leadership shows that he believed in frequent casual contact with subordinates, keeping a good temper, paying compliments frequently, and setting a good example.
Phillips notes that Lincoln only used forced when absolutely necessary.  If you want employees to join your cause then "a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall."  Being kind and compassionate creates loyalty and dedication from subordinates.  Lincoln also empowered people and delegated responsibility.  He believed in elevating people and helping others climb the ladder of success.  When someone does a good job a leader should praise and reward them.  If they fail a leader should accept some of the responsibility.
When it came to criticism Lincoln was well versed.  By looking at the way he dealt with it a leader must have stamina, fortitude, and self-confidence.  Lincoln ignored most attacks unless they were important enough to make a difference.  Lincoln maintained grace under pressure and had lots of courage.

This book was a recommendation at a conference I went to so I picked it up at the library.  It wasn't one of my favorite reads.  It had so good ideas but it just wasn't that engaging.



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