About Lincoln Daily Management

006 O-05 1858 05-07Lincoln Daily Management is a blog about leadership and Abraham Lincoln.

With the hundreds of blogs and books out there about leadership and management, you’d think there would be no shortage of organizations that are led and managed well.

Well, that’s not the case.

Because I’m one of the millions who suffer in systems of bad management, I went looking for somebody who ultimately did it better than anyone; someone who was proven; someone who just wasn’t hypothesizing; someone from whom we could all learn practical ideas.  I ended up going full circle to one of the first leaders we are ever taught about in grammar school:  Abraham Lincoln.

I take nothing away from my fellow leadership and management writers.  I follow lots of them and gain much from them.  They have plenty of great ideas – and many of them were implemented successfully by none other than our sixteenth president.

Why should you follow?

Using Lincoln as a model, we can become better leaders of people: parents can use these skills with their children, teachers with their students, foremen with their laborers, CEO’s with their employees, coaches with their teams, and political leaders with their people.

Anybody who manages people – which is virtually all of us to some extent – should be able to derive concrete advice from Lincoln.

But how can we say that he is the world’s most proven executive?

With no disrespect intended to the millions of other great private or public managers of people the world has produced, Lincoln stands alone as an expert because of the wide variety of personalities he dealt with in the extraordinary, dire circumstances in which he proved himself successful.

If we listened even a little in school, we know the beginning of his management career: Several states began to break away from the United States because of Republican success in the election of 1860, fearful that the eradication of their beloved slavery was about to begin.

Yet Lincoln could not count on the Northern states for automatic support – he had no mandate, being elected with just about 40% of the popular vote; and many in the North were quite content to let their southern brothers and sisters go their own way, taking their evil slavery with them.

Unlike today when the President-elect waits for a little over two months to take office, Lincoln was forced to stand by powerlessly for one-third of a year while his nation was tearing itself apart, while traitorous acts were being committed inside the buildings of Washington D.C., and while a lame-duck President James Buchanan acted even more lame than his usual self.

Literally minutes after his inauguration, and well before his entire cabinet was confirmed, the crisis of a near defenseless Fort Sumter under siege off the coast of South Carolina was dropped in his lap; not to mention that seven more states threatened secession.

After surviving the initial crisis, he was still faced with all-out rebellion from the South, he had to rally his countrymen, organize and build an army that at that point numbered a mere 17,000 men spread from coast to coast, put down a mini-rebellion in the border state of Maryland, defend Washington D.C. from becoming the new Confederate capital, and do it all without Congress being in session.

Afterward, Lincoln was challenged with devastating defeats in the face of over-confident hopes in the North, took on a self-important, self-aggrandizing general who practically refused to engage in war, and all the while walked a tight rope between freeing slaves and losing the support of a coalition of Northerners who refused to fight a war based on slavery.

As he was doing all of this, the greatest military powers in the world at the time, Great Britain and France, considered joining in the fight – for the other side.

And just as things finally started to look better, they looked worse: The Union Army again stalled, while Lincoln’s own Secretary of the Treasury looked like he may snatch the Presidency away from him.

Meanwhile, Democrats and some members of his own party called for his ouster, charging that the war was being fought on the grounds of freeing the slaves – or that it was not.

Through his leadership, Lincoln saved the United States, as well as the idea that all could be born equal with the same hopes and dreams as any other born into any privilege, and that “government of the people, by the people, and for the people [should] not perish from the Earth.”

While accomplishing these feats, he abolished slavery for all time, cutting out the cancer that had embedded itself in our nation long before its birth.

Lincoln obviously didn’t take a management course with only one year of formal schooling, and only managed a two-man law office before becoming President; what he knew was what he read (and he read widely and constantly), as well as what he experienced in life.

Critics of this blog may charge that the management and leadership skills proposed here are actually political skills, reserved for those who we “elect”; that Lincoln was a master politician and that these skills employed by him were nothing more than any politician would use today, or any other time, to get what he wanted.

There is no denying that many of the skills presented herein are political skills that could just as easily be presented in a book on Lincoln’s political prowess.

However, the word politic, from the Greek word politikos, means for, of, or relating to citizens; thanks to Lincoln, in part, every human being is now a citizen.

Therefore, all of the skills presented in this blog can be applied to all humans whenever their situation demands that they persuade and influence other people.


9 responses to “About Lincoln Daily Management

  1. obstructedbynone

    March 18, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    This is definitely a unique viewpoint on history. I wish my history class was more like this. Are there any articles of Lincoln wrestling?

    • Lincoln Daily Management

      March 18, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      I truly appreciate that comment about it being a unique viewpoint! I think so, too. Consider this blog your replacement for history class.

      In regard to articles about Lincoln wrestling…unfortunately, no…management as President only. However, I will include a picture in the next post of Lincoln wrestling when he was a young man – just for you.

      • obstructedbynone

        March 18, 2013 at 9:43 pm

        Aha, that is some good stuff! And I don’t know, I was just thinking that wrestling could’ve played into him being such a tenacious and successful individual. Persistence is undeniably an important management skill.

      • Lincoln Daily Management

        March 18, 2013 at 9:54 pm

        Tenacious is an excellent word to describe Mr. Lincoln. The man never gave up on his goal to be remembered by his fellow man for contributing something important before he died.

  2. MichaelJ

    April 2, 2013 at 6:36 am

    And, about the charge that Lincoln might have had more political prowess than managerial; organizational politics is (unfortunately) a fact of life. A cardinal “people skill” of good leaders is the ability to communicate and persuade even the insecure and irrational.
    Enjoying your posts. Cheers, MikeJ

  3. obstructedbynone

    April 14, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I nominated your blog for the Liebster Blog Award. You don’t have to do all of the questions and the like, but I’d be interested in how you got into the Lincoln Daily Management business. 🙂

    • Lincoln Daily Management

      April 14, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      I honestly did not know there was such a thing until I read your comment and then googled it – but thank you very much! I am honored and will be happy to answer all of the questions. From what I understand, you have to ask me 11 questions (I wonder why 11, but whatever).

      In answer to this question, Lincoln Daily Management was created from the combined inspiration of my own desire to have humanity work for better leaders and managers, and 3 books: Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth Behind What Motivates Us, and Leading So People Will Follow by Erika Andersen. In my own personal experience, I’ve worked for a few great leaders – and absolutely horrible ones. I’ve also been (am) one (several times), and I can only hope that I fall into the first category.

  4. obstructedbynone

    April 15, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Sweet! Alright, since you answered one already, I’ll give you ten questions:
    1) What’s your favorite food?
    2) What’s your favorite spot to think in?
    3) In what ways do you hope your readers will apply what they learn from your blog? 4) Who’s a better leader, Lincoln or George Washington? Explain why.
    5) What do you think is the worst quality that can hold back a potential leader?
    6) What do you think is the most important quality of a potential leader?
    7) Would you rather have a cat, dog, horse, or ferret?
    8) How much fun should a leader have in their occupation?
    9) Where do you find so much biographical info on Abe Lincoln?
    10) What’s the most fun aspect about blogging for you?
    P.S. I suggest making a post of this QA so that more of your readers can see this and get to know you more. 🙂 Thanks for your time, I know it’s a lot!


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