Saturday, June 30, 2007

Abraham Lincoln - Quiet Leader

These are the words spoken during the narrative within the orchestral composition, "Lincoln Portrait" by the American composer Aaron Copeland,
Lincoln was a quiet man. Abe Lincoln was a quiet and melancholy man.

Although many will simply view Abraham Lincoln as godlike, the hero and savior of the Union during the Civil War and the freer of slaves, a study of the life of Lincoln will identify that Lincoln was a very complex soul. Biographers have noted his depression, bipolar tendencies, tumultuous marriage, superstitions, seances at the White House (likely held by his wife Mary Todd Lincoln), and even controversial questions about his religion and sexuality. He also had another side highlighted by his skills at storytelling and humor. Let's just agree that Lincoln was a complicated man, quite unlike the simple heroic perception one might have. Within this complexity, I find quiet leadership.

My impression of Lincoln as a quiet leader is cemented in the book,
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln where historian Doris Kearns Goodwin adds a quiet leader dimension to the Lincoln biography when writing about his ability to bring his political rivals into his cabinet and sooth their egos, turn these rivals into allies, and gain their respect and loyalty through his political skill and insight into human behavior. It is this skill that the quiet leader in us emulates and the basis for nominating Lincoln as a quiet leader.

Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly.

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