Category Archives: Leadership

Vince Lombardi – The Will to Win


Lead Like Lincoln

The President of the United States of America. Wow, what an achievement, what a title. Can you imagine the weight of the responsibilities that comes along with such a prestigious title? Having an opportunity to be in a leadership position myself, one of the most important part of the role is making decisions. Some decisions are simple while others could make you lose sleep. That’s just part of our role as leaders. To be the leader of the free world, now that’s something else. I was intrigued in finding out who, we the People of the United States, thought was the best president in our country’s history, so I started to do some research.

One of the Greatest:

Of 7 different polls: The Murray Blessings (1982); CSPAN Presidential Leadership (1999); ABC Presidential Greatness (2000); Washington College Presidential Greatness (2005); Gallup Presidential Greatness (2011); Rasmussen Favorable Presidents (2007); New York Times Five Thirty Eight (2013), all polls ranked Abraham Lincoln as the #1 or #2 President of all time in Leadership and Greatness. Being a “Leadership Enthusiast”, which means I thoroughly enjoy studying Leadership, I was curious. Why did so many Americans thought Abraham Lincoln was the greatest. He’s done great things just like other presidents, but what set him apart?

I had an opportunity to speak to a great individual by the name of Jeff Conley in 2015. Jeff has an extensive background in Leadership Development as well as Organization Development. Jeff has 15 years + in mastery of his craft. With the knowledge of his background, I wanted an opportunity to gain some insight and wisdom. We engaged in a conversation surrounding “great leadership”. He went on to help me visualize a great leader and presented me a picture of Abraham Lincoln, but when he told me “why” it made all the sense.

Lincoln Memorial

Take a look at the picture of The Lincoln Memorial. Well crafted by architect Henry Bacon, sitting in Washington D.C. our nation’s capital and across from the Washington Monument, this awe-inspiring memorial attracts millions of visitors each year. Just like all other historic sculptures, there’s a deeper meaning to what we see.

The 4 Characteristics of a Great Leader:


When we look at sculptures of great leaders, we would see someone on their feet poised gallantly. A symbol of strength and bravery. Notice, Abraham Lincoln in his memorial is sitting down. Henry Bacon wanted to depict Abraham Lincoln’s level of humility which by far, over exceeds all other Presidents.

“You know, when I think about Abraham Lincoln, what I’m struck by is the fact that he constantly learned on the job. He got better. You know, he wasn’t defensive. He wasn’t arrogant about his tasks. He was very systematic in saying, ‘I’m going to master the job, and I understand it’s going to take some time.” President Obama

At one point Grant took several strategic steps in the war that Lincoln feared may be a terrible mistake, when Grant subsequently delivered a spectacular victory, however, Lincoln was quick to turn around and concede his own misjudgment, “I now wish to make the personal acknowledgment that you were right, and I was wrong.” He then added, “I frequently make mistakes myself, in the many things I am compelled to do hastily.” (Psychology Today)


Look at the picture of the Lincoln Memorial again, specifically his left hand. Notice how his hand is balled up in a fist? This is symbolic to Lincoln’s unwavering determination in winning the Civil War. He believed in his cause and was willing to do whatever it took to be victorious, he was resolute. How resolute? Of all the presidents of the United States, Lincoln fired the most number of Generals, 6 to be exact; General Irvin McDowell, George McClellan, John Pope, Ambrose Burnside, Joseph Hooker and George Meade. (MyFiveBest) Which led him to appointing Ulysses S. Grant who brought victory to the Union Army therefore, winning the Civil War.


Now, take a look at the Lincoln Memorial with micro-inspection. Notice his right hand? Notice how it’s relaxed? This was a symbol of Lincoln’s compassion for the people. Although, Lincoln was resolved in winning the war, his purpose was much greater than the “win”. He had a strong conviction of emancipating the slaves and to abolish slavery. His passion for the people and the freedom of the people exemplifies his compassion for the people. This led to to the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and added 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution which permanently outlawed slavery.


Finally, I want you to examine Lincoln’s foot in the sculpture. What do you see? Notice that his right foot is in a position where his toes are pointed up and pressure of his weight going towards his heel. His left foot, on the other hand seems to have his weight forward onto his toes. This only portrays one thing, Lincoln’s readiness to take action. “Mr. Lincoln was no saint, nor did I ever hear that he assumed to be. He was an earnest, loyal man, alike so to his country and his principles; but if the necessity arose, he wielded the weapons of political warfare with as little hesitation and with far more skill than did his political foes,” wrote General John Pope in his memoirs. (Abraham Lincoln: A Life)


If you are in a leadership position or have the desire to be a great leader, I would encourage you to “Lead Like Lincoln”. Leadership isn’t always about being rough and tough. It’s definitely not about title. It’s about understanding, making the right decisions and standing firm on what’s right and what’s needed. We can all learn a leadership lesson from Abraham Lincoln. As we continue on our journeys to become great leaders ourselves, remember to stay Humble, be Resolute, be Compassionate and always be ready to take Action. Leaders aren’t known for their idleness. All leaders are known for the actions that they’ve taken which has impact not only themselves but the world around them. Keeping a balance between the four character trait depicted in Lincoln’s Memorial can guide us in developing a great leader within us.

So, are you “Leading Like Lincoln”? Would leading like Lincoln help you achieve your mission as a leader?

Thanks for reading.


MLK Day – Jan 2016


QUOTE by Joe Frazier – Discipline














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