Lincoln on Leadership Part II: Character

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Dan Flint
  • 90th Force Support Squadron first sergeant
President Lincoln had many adjectives describing him such as fair, trustworthy, sincere, truthful, empathetic, courageous and charismatic to name a few. All of these terms are looked for in today's leaders. They are not just a description of Lincoln as a person but also a true depiction of his values.

Lincoln received the nickname, "Honest Abe," for a reason. He believed all leadership theories and guidelines fall apart without honesty and integrity. These are the keystones that hold an organization together. Lincoln ensured this was a fundamental belief, as he knew good leaders that will tell their subordinates the truth even when the news is bad, and gain a greater respect and support.

Lincoln's ability to never act in vengeance or spite was not only a great trait every leader should display but also the reason the United States is as it is today. He truly believed every man is created equal. To punish merely for the punishment's sake serves no purpose. To punish to teach and rebuild is a purpose a true leader understands. He also understood that his organization was a direct reflection of him as the top leader.

His ability to take criticism was another strength of his character. He would never be seen upset or rattled. He would not waste his time reading articles of slander towards him. He understood it was a waste of time to worry about those whose purpose was to discredit him. His favorite way to deal with stressful situations was to write his frustration down on paper. In the end he knew he would be able to withstand all the critics because he had integrity throughout his life and stood for what he believed.

When people develop these traits they become a powerful leader.