Publisher's Note: Today's "Greenelines" is part 4 of a five-part series on Republican presidents noted for their leadership skills. The order of presentation does not reflect a ranking. Read part 1, part 2 and part 3.
Throughout my years as a college student and professor, I had the opportunity to visit many college campuses. Today, I can remember at least one faculty member's office was decorated with Abraham Lincoln memorabilia, framed quotes and even pictures of him hung on the office wall.
What was it about our 16th president that still resonates with leaders and students of leadership?
If you were to ask people today to name three of the best leaders ever to have lived in America, Lincoln would certainly be named by a majority of those asked. But if you were to ask a follow-up question and ask "Why," I think you would hear a wide range of answers.
Perhaps the "why" question best explains Lincoln as a leader. He demonstrated so many textbook qualities of leadership that it is difficult to focus on just one.
I remember visiting Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield, Illinois as a child. Throughout my life, I have recalled seeing a candle stand in a room of an old house in which he lived. I learned he did most of his study for law school by candlelight. Edison was still busy with his own candles.
"If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself," he wrote, "the thing is more than half done already."
I clearly remember being convicted during that visit to read more. In everything I have read about Lincoln throughout my life, his passion for reading was always noted.
Candlelight reading redefines passionate reading.
Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin won a Pulitzer Prize for her book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. She enumerated his many qualities including one quality worth our focus today.
Lincoln was an active listener. He was noted for his ability to fully hear opposing viewpoints. And he heard significant opposition. In leading our country through what today seems an unimaginable Civil War, he listened in a way few presidents had to endure.
He wrote many letters to families who lost sons in that war. His grief was personal.
"In the untimely loss of your noble son, our affliction here, is scarcely less than your own. So much of promised usefulness to one's country, and of bright hopes for one's self and friends, have rarely been so suddenly dashed, as in his fall."
Lincoln was noted for listening with empathy. It is a rare skill among leaders. An active listener gives no thought about what will be said next. Understanding comes with deep questioning and listening.
My daily goal is to ask more questions and make fewer statements.
I choose to end this brief look at Lincoln with a reflection he offered in his inaugural address in 1865.
"Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not that we be judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully."
"A wise man will hear and will increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel" (Prov. 1:5)
Platform Tip No. 55
Strive to say something worth saying. A good message resonates because it penetrates the heart and mind.
Narrow your focus into a group of people with a specific need. Speak into their need.
Don't try to address all things for all people.
Define your lane and stay in it.
Then do it over and over again.
Do you want to learn more about developing your personal platform?
Send for my free series of lessons titled, "The Fundamentals of Creating, Curating and Developing Content for Multiple Platforms." Send your request to: email@example.com.
We will not share your email address with anyone.
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, Love Leads.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.