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Abraham Lincoln captured my fascination when I read my very first book about him in grammar school. I was intrigued by the pictures of the tall, lanky young Lincoln.

Since that time I have read numerous books on Lincoln, perhaps more than any other individual. Even now I have two books that I plan to read this year. There have been 16,000 books published on Lincoln—125 on the assassination alone—more than any other American. It appears my fascination is shared.

I know there have been volumes written about or extracted from Lincoln’s life on the topic of leadership. I am intrigued by him and his abilities to lead so here are some my observations.

5 Leadership Lessons I Learned from Lincoln:

  1. His leadership was a demonstration of his character. He was challenged, criticized and disregarded, but it did not change the way he led. Lincoln knew who he was, what he believed and acted upon it.
  2. He was not afraid to make hard decisions even if they were not popular. His decision to abolish slavery was principled and costly, but he did not flinch.
  3. He was wise and mature drawing wisdom from his detractors and even his enemies. I suggest every leader read Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin to see how Lincoln led with adversaries.
  4. His family was a high priority and had access to him. I remember reading accounts of his sons running into the Oval Office during “Meetings of State” to see their father and knowing they had that right.
  5. He never forgot where he came from which helped him maintain a keen sense of awareness of people. Even as President, he was mindful of individuals and never seemed to be too taken with himself.

Abraham Lincoln was not a perfect leader. He did not make all the right decisions, no leader does. His faith was important to him, but he was not the perfect Christian; however, his faith was one of the guiding forces of his life. His life inspires me and every time I read another book about him I am challenged.

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