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Lincoln on Leadership

Executive Strategies for Tough Times

By Donald T. Phillips
13-minute read
Audio available
Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times by Donald T. Phillips

Lincoln on Leadership is a detailed examination of the strategies that enabled Abraham Lincoln to lead so effectively before and during the American Civil War. The book gets past the myths of the legendary president and illustrates specific facets of his leadership ability to compare Lincoln's skills to successful strategies employed by modern leaders today.

  • Anyone interested in the skills that made Lincoln a great leader
  • Anyone interested in applying Lincoln's executive leadership skills today

Donald T. Phillips is a best-selling non-fiction author who has written over 20 books. As part of the trilogy that includes The Founding Fathers on Leadership and Martin Luther King, Jr. on Leadership, Lincoln on Leadership helped establish the historical leadership genre. Phillips' leadership experience includes three terms as mayor of Fairview, Texas.

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Lincoln on Leadership

Executive Strategies for Tough Times

By Donald T. Phillips
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times by Donald T. Phillips
Synopsis

Lincoln on Leadership is a detailed examination of the strategies that enabled Abraham Lincoln to lead so effectively before and during the American Civil War. The book gets past the myths of the legendary president and illustrates specific facets of his leadership ability to compare Lincoln's skills to successful strategies employed by modern leaders today.

Key idea 1 of 9

Modern leaders should learn from Abraham Lincoln and go out and engage with staff from every level of their organization.

In the American Civil War, many state regiments passed through Washington D.C. on their way to the front. At every opportunity, Abraham Lincoln was there to personally inspect them. Despite the obvious pressures of being president, he took the time to see his soldiers and instill in them his vision of what they were fighting for.

This example is typical of Lincoln's hands-on approach in leading his administration. He maintained close involvement with every division, from his cabinet members to the ordinary soldiers in the Union Army.

Lincoln’s desire to keep in touch with his colleagues led him to actively seek them out. For example, not happy with just meeting with his cabinet colleagues at their official bi-weekly meetings, he would chase them down and hold impromptu conferences. In fact, Lincoln spent about 75% of his time meeting people from all aspects of his administration.

Lincoln's method of engaging at every level of his organization is similar to the modern management technique: Managing by Wandering Around (MBWA). MBWA teaches managers to spend as much time as possible with their staff from all levels and departments. They should use this time to stay in touch with employees, gather their opinions on policy and instill in them the organization’s values.

MBWA suggests that it is crucial for managers to get out of the office and meet with people on the front line of their business. Once again, Lincoln knew the importance of this. He would often leave his presidential surroundings to meet colleagues and supporters. He even went to the battlefield to comfort wounded soldiers and, as he had done during his Washington inspections, instill the courage and vision to keep fighting.

Modern leaders should learn from Abraham Lincoln and go out and engage with staff from every level of their organization.

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