Most of the criticisms aimed at Lincoln can be mitigated when one considers that his major philosophy entailed finding the compromise between what was right in theory and what could be achieved in practice (D’Souza, 2005). Lincoln’s insight into his ambition likely lead to his identity as a servant leader once he ascended to the presidency. I believe his patience was very important in terms of how the United States came to view Lincoln. If he had been rash and jumped in without taking the time to adequately assess the situation the war could have gone in a very different direction, with the south being even more disgruntled and the northern army being extremely unprepared.
Lincoln had the courage of his convictions and was consistent in his vision to preserve the union. This could not have been easy with so many people pressuring him to modify his vision. I believe this ultimately helped him to win the war because his troops knew that he was 100% behind them. Lincoln’s consistency included encouraging the troops, and holding himself accountable to them if he felt he had made a mistake (Davis, 2009). Lincoln’s ability to admit his faults went a long way in helping him to earn the support of his troops. With faith as his guide during his presidency Lincoln was able to speak to the general public using the common language of his religion.
Lincoln’s rhetorical skills helped him to earn the support of the public and colleagues. Lincoln was able to try and heal the wounds of wars, as he began to make overtures to the South once the war was almost over (Field, 2011). Lincoln’s humor and empathy helped him to get out of many tricky situations. It is likely that his humor and empathy also helped to lessen the sting of unwanted or bad news when he had to deliver it. His empathy allowed Lincoln to put himself in the opposition’s shoes and affected the way that he approached the war as a whole. This empathy helped him to be a great leader, as he made sure his decisions were well thought out since he did not want to harm anyone if possible.
Lincoln’s hands on approach to the Civil War and his presidency helped him to realize his vision. By seeing the ins and outs of his soldiers daily lives he was able to determine when a change needed to be made. Being a servant leader allowed Lincoln to decide how to do the most good for the most people while mitigating the negative effects of war to the best of his ability. I believe that Lincoln was ultimately a successful leader even though he lost his life due to his vision. Lincoln successfully realized his vision to preserve the union, and it still remains unified over 200 years later.
Leadership Lessons from Lincoln
Lincoln believed in being a leader that was actively involved in all aspects of his presidency. This active involvement from a leader helps their team to identify with his vision and feel loyalty toward him as a leader. Having an open door policy allowed his troops to feel comfortable coming to him with their problems. As a servant leader Lincoln felt the need to serve the people as a leader. If leaders can think of leadership as service to others instead of engaging in a power trip I believe that we would have stronger teams with more respect toward our leaders.
Lincoln showed that a leader could be ambitious; otherwise they would not have attained their leadership position. With that in mind, ambition needs to have the support of a personal vision. Lincoln shows us the importance of a leader having a strong personal vision, and helping his team to develop a vision to guide their undertakings. He shows how consistency from a leader is rewarded by consistency from his team such as the consistency he received from the Union troops (Davis, 2009). Lincoln then shows us the importance of continually working toward his vision and not allowing anything to distract him from this vision. This can sometimes be difficult for leaders in this modern day of email and