Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bring Lincoln into your Classroom....

I just finished the Book “Lincoln on Leadership” by Donald T. Phillips.  The book was amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone.  Even though the book is geared towards the business community it translates well into any occupation.   The book is broken down into 15 chapters, each based off of a basic Lincoln principle. 
                1. Get out of the office and circulate among the troops
                2. Build strong alliances
                3. Persuade rather than coerce
                4. Honesty and integrity are the best policies
                5. Never act out of vengeance or spite
                6. Have the courage to handle unjust criticism
                7. Be a master of paradox
                8. Exercise a strong hand - be decisive
                9. Lead by being led
                10. Set goals and be results oriented
                11. Keep searching until you find your "Grant"
                12. Encourage innovation
                13. Master the art of public speaking
                14. Influence people through conversation and storytelling
                15. Preach a vision and continually reaffirm it 
I have always admired Lincoln, and this book solidified my perception of him.   He was an amazing leader that valued the relationships he held with his people.  He was an effective leader who allowed his trusted leaders to fail and helped them to recover.  He handled stress well and never let his subordinates see him under duress.  To help deal with stress, Lincoln would write letters to people that made mistakes.  He would explain his displeasure and tell them what he expected.  Then he would seal the letter and place it in a cabinet drawer, never sending it.  
Lincoln’s philosophy on leadership was to be lead by being led.    He would often “lead” his Generals by allowing them to make their own decisions.   He supported them after failures and he heaped praise on them when they succeeded.    What an amazing concept and one that we should all carry through to the classroom. 
Overall, the book was amazing, and I would highly recommend it to anyone.  I leave you with this quote, which demonstrates the prophetic view Lincoln held.
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.
                                                                               -- Abraham Lincoln

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