It’s Election Day and whatever your point of view, I hope you get out and vote.
I’m reading a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin called Leadership in Turbulent Times. It’s a study of four of our greatest presidents: Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, FDR and Lyndon Johnson.
What I’m enjoying about the book is the character of these capable leaders, in particular Lincoln. The qualities he possessed in keeping people of different beliefs and agendas sticking together for the common good are lessons that would be useful for anyone in their daily life.
I wanted to share them with you because following this approach is a powerful way to work with others who disagree, who vie with you for power, or who are just difficult personalities.
When Lincoln chose his cabinet members during the beginnings of the Civil War, he purposely chose the best people, even if they disagreed with him…and many did.
Here are some of the key characteristics of what worked for Lincoln, and what made him such a powerful leader.
- Understand the emotional needs of each member of the team
- Refuse to let past resentments fester; transcend personal vendettas
- Set a standard of mutual respect and dignity; control anger
- Shield colleagues from blame
- Maintain perspective in the face of both accolades and abuse
- Find ways to cope with pressure, maintain balance, replenish energy
- Keep your word
- Know when to hold back, and when to move forward
- Put ambition for the collective interest above self-interest
Each of these characteristics would be a huge asset in dealing with family members, spouses/partners, or business associates. They’re pretty darn good traits for politicians as well.
And if you haven’t already, don’t miss your opportunity to vote!