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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 8 key ideas
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 8

Great leaders like Lincoln preach, persuade and reinforce rather than coerce.

There has always been a debate about which is the better strategy: should leaders use the carrot or the stick to best motivate their staff?

Abraham Lincoln proved that the best leaders use the carrot. From the fierce devotion of the Union Army to kinship of the common citizen, Lincoln inspired a loyal following through his ability to persuade, preach and encourage.

A great example of Lincoln’s powers of preaching and persuasion can be found in a famous speech in which he attacked the views of pro-slavery politicians. At the time, the issue of slavery divided the American public, and many wanted to maintain it. Yet, through his words, Lincoln was able to bring people around to his abolitionist outlook. He matched rhetorical flair with a well-crafted argument, suggesting that most of the United States’ founding fathers had at one time been against slavery. By doing this, he was appealing to the audience’s shared faith in their nation’s founding principles. Lincoln won them over and, in fact, this speech greatly helped him win the presidency.

Such examples show Lincoln was able to persuade the American people to side with him through the most divisive time in US history. Where others would have looked to coercion and strict discipline, Lincoln used persuasion.

Yet, it wasn’t just in preaching to the public that Lincoln used his skills of persuasion. In his personal dealings with individual members of his administration, he used persuasion as a method of motivation. For example, he empowered his subordinates by making his orders sound like suggestions. This gave them the helpful impression that they were taking part in the process. Instead of being inferiors, they were made to feel like equal partners; he provided them with the confidence to continue working hard.

Great leaders like Lincoln preach, persuade and reinforce rather than coerce.

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