November 8

The Leadership Principles of Abraham Lincoln


In her brilliant book, “Leadership,” Doris Kearns Goodwin, the author, eloquently presented Abraham Lincoln’s leadership principles in the chapter titled “Transformational Leadership.”  They are as follows:

  • “Acknowledge when failed policies demand a change in direction.”
  • “Gather firsthand information, ask questions.”
  • “Find time and space in which to think.”
  • “Exhaust all possibility of compromise before imposing unilateral executive power.”
  • “Anticipate contending viewpoints.”
  • “Assume full responsibility for a pivotal decision.”
  • “Understand the emotional needs of each member of the team.”
  • “Refuse to let past resentments fester; transcend personal vendettas.”
  • “Set a standard of mutual respect and dignity; control anger.”
  • “Shield colleagues from blame.”
  • “Maintain perspective in the face of both accolades and abuse.”
  • “Find ways to cope with pressure, maintain balance, replenish energy.”
  • “Keep your word.”
  • “Know when to move back, when to move forward.”
  • “Combine transactional and transformational leadership.”
  • “Be accessible, easy to approach.”
  • “Put ambition for the collective interest above self-interest.”

Lincoln applied those principles in 1862 to lead our country away from the danger of destroying the dream of our founders, with all its flaws, and back to being one nation, living on the foundation of our constitution.

Here we are 160 years later, facing a descent into that same abyss, albeit it for different reasons, but similarly grounded in hatred, seeing anyone who disagrees with us as an enemy that must be destroyed. Listening to one another is weakness. Collaboration is cowardice. 

Lincoln’s principles are as relevant today as they were in 1862. They beg the question: What must define great leadership in all segments of society today? And most importantly – what would it take for you to apply them – right now?

To explore more in upcoming posts, follow us at Axies Group on LinkedIn.  


You may also like

A Neuro-Wellness Culture

A Neuro-Wellness Culture

Book Reviews

Mastering Your Balance

Amazon Book Reviews

D. Thurman April 7, 2021

The areas of balance required to perform as a top level organization are lifted from the almost unconscious to the very conscious in Mastering Your Balance. As a business and executive coach I see business leaders mostly consumed 95% if the time with near term issues. A perpetual game of Whack-A-Mole.

Perhaps, getting the various elements covered in the book in play and more importantly in balance these leaders would have far less moles to whack, and therefore much more time and energy available execute on their greater purpose.

Shane Willard April 21, 2021

Bill & Jason get it. Having coached thousands of businesses and business leaders their insight is invaluable. They beautifully weave Vision, Values, Culture, Strategy & Purpose together into actionable steps any leader can implement. As they say, no matter how good one is at these individual elements, without balance greatness will always lie just behind your reach.

The 'what-would-it-take' concept in Chapter 2 makes you peel back the excuses and think creatively. "To achieve the impossible you must first envision the improbable."

At its core, this book serves as a blueprint for each vital element necessary to achieve success and balance organizationally (and personally). It reminds leadership where they need to focus.

Joe Fera April 1, 2021

What would it take to shatter your limiting beliefs and lead your company to heights only dreamed? Read ‘Mastering Your Balance’. Bill & Jason have demystified the ‘Dark Matter’ of great leadership and great organizations and boiled it down to highly actionable and implementable elements. Aha moments abound!

LR March 31, 2021

Mastering Your Balance answers the question and is a must read and reread for any organization daring to go from good to great! Mastering Your Balance shines a much needed light, drawing our attention to it, causing us to remember it's significance. More than words, we are reminded that a carefully crafted mission/vision statement is the organization's North Star.

Severin Sorensen March 24, 2021

As a business coach I'm always looking for books to inspire the human mind, and give direction to business owners seeking to raise their performance in the great game of business. Mastering Your Balance is one of those books. The authors are experienced in the art of giving profound advice to their clients.