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Friday, June 17, 2016

Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times

Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough TimesLincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times by Donald T. Phillips

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Lincoln is my far not my favorite President, but this little book about his leadership is excellent. It has some reminders for me and also gave me a few new things to think about. I trust the quotes below will me as helpful to you as they were to me.

He (President Lincoln) is, in fact, the only U. S. president to hold a patent (for a method to make grounded boats more buoyant).

Lincoln stood six feet, four inches, our tallest president.

The first Republican president, elected by a minority of the popular vote, he was a Washington outsider.

His cardinal mistake is that he isolates himself, and allows nobody to see him; and about which he does not know what is going on in the very matter he is dealing with. – – Lincoln’s reason for relieving Gen. John C. Fremont from his command in Missouri (September 9, 1861)

During his four years as president Abraham Lincoln spent most of his time among the troops.

Leading is primarily paying attention.

If subordinates, or people in general, know that they genuinely have easy access to their leader, they’ll tend to view the leader in a more positive, trustworthy light.

All leaders must seek and require access to reliable and up-to-date information.

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.

Simply spending time together and getting to know one’s subordinates can overcome mountains of personal differences and hard feelings.

If you stay in touch with the people who comprise the foundation, you’re more likely to gain an advantage that helps you to win the war against stiff competition. It’s the people who are closest to the consumer and the product who know how to win. And, almost always, they will want to offer their ideas.

Delegate responsibility and authority by empowering people to act on their own.

On issues that affect your entire organization, conduct full and frequent consultations with the heads of your various departments.

A good leader avoids issuing orders, preferring to request, imply, or make suggestions.

The architecture of leadership, all the theories and guidelines, falls apart without honesty and integrity. It’s the keystone that holds an organization together. Tom Peters reported in his research that the best, most aggressive, and successful organizations were the ones that stressed integrity and trust. “Managers do things right. Leaders do the right thing,” wrote Bennis and Nanus.

Trust, honesty, and integrity are exceedingly important qualities because they so strongly affect followers. Most individuals need to trust others, especially their boss. Subordinates must perceive their leader as a consistently fair person if they’re to engage in the kind of innovative risk-taking that brings a company rewards.

Followers in virtually every organization respond better to you, and will more easily be led by, a leader who consistently displays kindness and empathy than one who is associated with vindictiveness or animosity.

Business associates or subordinates, realize that a leader is not given to spite and pettiness, they will be more willing to openly seek him out. This will, in turn, makes the leader more effective.

Always keep in mind that once a subordinate is destroyed he ceases to contribute to the organization.

It would not hurt you much if, once in a while, you could manage to let things slip, unbeknownst- like.

Remember that truth is generally the best vindication against slander.

Do the very best you know how – – the very best you can – – and keep doing so until the end.

Corporate leaders of the future will have to provide employee security while also encouraging an environment for risk taking. At times it will seem like walking a delicate tightrope. But, in reality, it is nothing more than the simple understanding that each person, and each situation, is different it should be handled uniquely, in some cases with completely opposite styles. In many ways, mastering paradox is nothing more than having good common sense.

The best, most decisive leaders are those who have a set purpose and self-confidence to accomplish that objective.

An entire organization is never wisely sacrificed to avoid losing one or two small parts.

Frequently, getting people together can avoid distracted thinking that tends to build on people’s misgivings and apprehensions about others and their departments.

Always give credit where credit was due and, conversely, to accept responsibility when things went wrong.

If leaders of this - if they praise good work and encourage more of the same - then eventually they will be able to relax and let their subordinates do most of the work. And all the leader will have to do is guide them in the proper direction.

Let disputing parties work out their differences by bringing them together and guiding their dialogue.

Always let your subordinates know that the honor will be all theirs if they succeed and the blame will be yours if they fail.

Write letters to your subordinates making the personal acknowledgment that they were right and you were wrong.

When your subordinates come up with good ideas, let them go ahead and try. But monitor their progress.

The greatest credit should be given to those in your organization who rendered the hardest work.

Establishing goals and gaining their acceptance from subordinates is crucial for effective leadership. Goals unify people, motivate them, and focus their talent and energy.

Recent studies in leadership have noted that effective leaders are "reliable and tirelessly persistent" and that they are "the most results oriented people in the world."

Set specific short-term goals that can be focused on with intent and immediacy by subordinates.

Leave nothing for tomorrow, which can be done today.

Choose as your chief subordinates those people who crave responsibility and take risks.

Give your follow worse all the support you can, and act on the presumption that they will do the best they can with what you give them.

Coach and counsel a new executive so that he or she may get off on the right foot. Remember you want him to succeed.

An often overlooked component of leadership is this ability to learn from people and experiences, from successes and failures. The best leaders never stop learning. They possess a special capacity to be taught by those with whom they come into contact. In essence, this ongoing accumulation of knowledge prepares the organization for change.

A leader’s ability to develop innovative ideas and ask for people’s help in implementing them may seem to be obvious keys to success. But the sad fact is that too many of today’s leaders resign themselves to the limits imposed on them by flawed systems rather than rethinking those systems. This seems especially true in America as opposed to Japan, where innovation is a way of life.

Don't lose confidence in your people when they fail.

If you never try, you’ll never succeed.

Remember that the best leaders never stop learning.

Surround your self with people who really know their business and avoid “yes” men.

Remember that there will be times when you should simply not speak. Say to your listeners: “Kindly let me be silent.”

Try not to make mistakes when you speak publicly. Everything you say is intently heard. If you make a mistake it doesn't merely affect you but the organization as well.

Every leader must realize that the power to motivate followers resides almost solely in the ability to communicate effectively. In most business organizations, private conversation is much more important than public speaking.

When you meet with an individual, try not to part with any unpleasant impression on either side.

Speak in simple and familiar strains with people, without any pretension of superiority. Leave people with the feeling that they’ve known you all their lives.

Don't forget that humor is a major component of your ability to persuade people.

Effective visions and organizational mission statement can't be forced upon the masses. Rather, they must be set in motion by means of persuasion.

Moreover, truly accepted visions foster innovation, risk-taking, empowerment, and delegation. If the working troops understand what is expected of them, what the organization is trying to accomplish, then it becomes possible to make important decisions on lower levels, thereby creating a climate in which results in progress continually occur.

All leaders should remind subordinates why their organization was formed in the first place. Lincoln called on the past, related it to the present, and then used them both to provide a link to the future.

Provide a clear, concise statement of the direction of your organization, and justify the actions you take.

Everywhere you go, and every conceivable opportunity, reaffirm, reassert, and remind everyone of the basic principles upon which your organization was founded.

When effecting renewal, call on the past, relate it to the present, and then use them both to provide a link to the future.


I recommend this book to anyone who is a leader!


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