Despite being the President during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln is widely considered as one of the greatest leaders the United States has ever had. Part of this came from his emphasis on appointing great leaders to support him. Lincoln was also willing to go the extra mile for his people so that everyone could accomplish something great! Here are 7 lessons that are inspired by his leadership traits for your consideration today.
#1. Listen To Everyone
Lincoln realized that great ideas could originate from anyone. He refused to write people off just because they were different than he was or held an opposing opinion. His team would often disagree with each other because they realized there would be no revenge or retaliation happening because of a different perspective. Lincoln would listen to all sides and then make a final decision.
#2. Always Learn
Mistakes don’t define people. Lincoln made plenty of mistakes! What defines a leader is their ability to learn from their mistakes and keep fighting.
#3. Success Is Mutual
Lincoln never sought to take personal credit for the accomplishments that happened during his administration – many of which were quite notable. He believed that the journey toward success was wide enough for everyone to walk it together and so that’s what he allowed his team to do.
#4. Defend People
No one is perfect. Just as a leader should learn from their mistakes, so should individual team member’s when errors happen. A good leader won’t save people from a mistake, but they will defend their people with all their might and at the worst, have the entire team shoulder responsibility for an error instead of just one person.
#5. Know Your Weakness
It’s one of the most annoying interview questions there is: “What do you think your biggest weakness happens to be?” Lincoln had come to the realization quite early that he was willing to give people more chances than they probably deserved. Being aware of this weakness would let him compensate for it so that he could continue to be effective. Set deadlines for your weakness and resolve to take action, even if that means needing to fire someone.
#6. Stay In Control
Whenever a difficult situation arises, it is easy to get angry. Instead of letting that emotion rule the day, Lincoln used it as fuel to keep moving forward. He would apologize frequently to prove he wasn’t carrying a grudge and find ways to cope with his anger.
#7. Manage Directly
Lincoln seemed to be out of the White House more than he was inside of it. He would often visit a battlefield so that he could connect with the soldiers who were fighting the war. Hospitals were another place Lincoln would find himself, if for nothing else so that it could put a smile on a wounded man’s face. He’d also take public perception very seriously and would often hold meetings with people to gauge how well he was doing his job. Lincoln would shake hands and connect with everyone just to make sure they understood that he took their opinion seriously.