Book of the Week: Lincoln on Leadership Executive Strategies for Tough Times By Donald T Phillips II3 min read

Lincoln on Leadership tells the tale of one of the most influential presidents of American history. It’s a quick read that really touches at the core of leadership and the man who exemplified the subject best, Abraham Lincoln.

The way the book is titled makes you think that it was Lincoln himself who actually wrote it. Although there’s a good amount of writing by Lincoln in the book, the lessons are mostly interpreted by the author Donald T. Phillips, through actual historical events taken from the president’s life in office. The author does a great job of extracting the jewels of leadership wisdom by analyzing Lincoln’s actions.

Every one of you who have or decide to read this book will find your favorite part. The sections are divided into things about people, character, endeavor, and communication. I found the communications sections to be unusually good. As outstanding as Lincoln was in many areas, he was probably a better communicator than just about anything else.

There is a chapter on public speaking, another on influencing people through storytelling, and one on getting your vision across. These are all as timely today as they were in Lincoln’s day.

The chapter that most resonated with me was Keep searching until you find your “Grant”. Lincoln gave all his Generals every opportunity to advance and win the war under his guidance however many of them stumbled to persevere to this end goal. Lincoln however stayed steadfast in his determination to find the right man as he did when he found his Grant. This holds true today in any company or corporation as we are all searching for our Grant.

Anyone with an interest in Lincoln will enjoy this book. Each chapter explores one broad principle, and then lists subprinciples at the end of the chapter. These subprinciples are some great leadership lessons you can use today.

Below is a quick reference of it per chapters/principles delivered by the author.

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

Lincoln on Leadership helped me recognize the extraordinary attributes of an American legend. His honesty, integrity, and tenacity are all characteristics that should be mimicked by any student of leadership.

I will share with you, that after reading this book and learning more about our sixteenth president I came away with a much deeper respect for the man they called Honest Abe.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their leadership skills, and not only should you read this book but you should also mark it up and underline key points and refer back to them periodically!