President Abraham Lincoln gathered around him the best, brightest politicians, including his political opponents. He demonstrated his leadership by making a group of people a unique team, which consisted of the greatest minds of his time (according to the historian Doris Kearns Goodwin).
“Lincoln has demonstrated the ability to withstand difficulties and move forward in frustration,” said Kearns Goodwin at the SHRM’s 2008 Annual Conference in Chicago. She identified 10 qualities that made Lincoln a great leader. She believes that we should look for these qualities in modern leaders.
Ability to listen to different points of view
Kearns Goodwin, working on his book “The Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” (which won the Pulitzer Prize), learned that Lincoln “knew how to listen to different points of view.” He created an atmosphere in which members of the government could freely express their opinions without fear of retribution. At the same time, he knew when to stop the discussion, after hearing the opinions of others, to make a final decision.
Ability to learn while working
Lincoln was able to admit his mistakes, extract useful things from them, and then move on. Thus, as Kerns Goodwin says, he created a learning culture in his administration.
Willingness to take the blame
Kearns Goodwin says that when someone from the members of the Lincoln Cabinet made a mistake, he always took it personally. When serious questions arose about the members of his administration related to hostilities, Abraham Lincoln said that he and his entire cabinet were guilty.
Awareness of their own weakness
Kearns Goodwin notes that one of Lincoln’s flaws was his tendency to give people too much chance. He himself admitted it, and therefore was able to cope with it. As an example, the historian talks about George McClellan, the commander-in-chief of the Union army, who refused to follow war directives. Lincoln eventually set a deadline and then removed McClellan from office.
Ability to control your emotions
According to Kearns Goodwin, Lincoln was good to the people he worked with. Nevertheless, negative emotions were not alien to him, but he found a way to control them. Lincoln, when he was angry with anyone, wrote a letter to this man in which he expressed all his complaints and remarks, and then simply put him aside and did not send him away. If, however, he sometimes lost his temper, then he would definitely show the person that he was not holding evil against him.
Knew how to rest and relax
Lincoln understood the importance of rest and humor, which can help get rid of the stress received during the day, as well as recuperate for work. According to Kearns Goodwin, the president had a great sense of humor and loved telling jokes. He celebrated the cheerful, healthy atmosphere of his administration. Lincoln loved to go to the theater and spend time with friends.
He entered the battlefield and took part in the command
During the civil war, many soldiers died. Lincoln visited the battlefield and hospitals, maintaining the morale of US citizens. He talked to people and shook hands with everyone.
Ability to follow the goals
In the summer of 1964, as Kearns Goodwin says, things went badly in the north. Party members came to Lincoln and said that the war would be lost and they would have to surrender. Lincoln rejected the possibility of surrender and did not heed this advice.
Ability to discuss goals and your vision
Kearns Goodwin notes that Lincoln had an amazing ability to communicate his goals to his fellow countrymen. He was simple and attentive in communication.
When the war ended, Lincoln was re-elected for a second term. The President never spoke about his achievements, on the contrary, in his inaugural speech he focused on the reunification of the entire country. “Without malice, with mercy for everyone, let us strive to finish our work, heal the wounds of the nation, caring for everyone who needs it, and do everything possible to establish a just and lasting peace within the country and with all nations.”
Kearns Goodwin concluded her speech with the words of Leo Tolstoy (which he wrote about Abraham Lincoln): “His greatness was in the” integrity of the character and morality of his being. “