Monday 14 December 2009

Abraham Lincoln's Leadership Principles

I came across this impressive list of 10 Leadership Principles attributed to Abraham Lincoln and over the coming weeks will include some others (Shackleton's list is also insightful) to develop the Leadership theme and reflect on how little has changed in Principle and how well those Principles still serve. Lincoln himself stated that; 'Practices may change, but Principles never change'

Here's his list of 10 Principles

  1. Surround yourself with whatever talent the given enterprise requires
  2. Welcome, even encourage principled dissent
  3. Timing's not everything but often the difference between success and failure
  4. Exercise selective hearing during a contentious group discussion
  5. Unless absolutely certain be willing to grant benefit of the doubt
  6. Exhaust opponents by listening to them
  7. Appreciate effort but only reward performance
  8. Serve with malice towards none and charity towards all
  9. Lead with 'firmness in the right'
  10. When dealing with forceful personalities, focus on common interests

Much of what's espoused today is already enshrined here.

  • Real conversations-'allowing' the truth to surface
  • Tolerating differences- Today we call that diversity
  • Smart Trust-erring where possible on the side of generosity
  • Performance Management- Appreciate effort but ONLY reward!

No wonder these people cast such a long shadow and are justifiably iconic.

Right now my favourite is #6, Exhaust opponents by listening to them. Let them talk their way into capitulation!

What's your favourite & why does it resonate with you?

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