Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times Paperback – February 1, 1993
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Donald T. Phillips is the bestselling author of eighteen books, including Lincoln on Leadership and On the Wing of Speed. He has also collaborated on books with Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K of Duke University), Phil Mickelson, and Cal Ripken, Jr.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
How I rate items:
1 Star: (I hate it!!!): I would NOT recommend.
2 Stars: (I don’t like it): But, the product has some slight redeeming quality.
3 Stars: (It’s O.K.): Others may like it more than I do.
4 Stars: (I like it): Good product, but it may have some minor issues.
5 Stars: (I love it!!!): Perfect item and I will recommend it.
I have had this book for years. But, I am working on my reviews and thought I would put one our for this book. I have probably read this book, at least, three times. I have used references from this book many times more than this during graduate school. Phillips does a great job breaking down Lincoln's MWA (Managing while Walking Around) theory. Lincoln felt that the best way to "manage" people was in the midst of them. You cannot know what your staff is doing unless you can see what they are doing, speak with them at their level and be where they are. I use this in my own management. I would recommend this book and have done so many, many times. The book is also short enough to be an easy-read, while educational in it's theories.
However, the compare contrast model that he used was a little disconnected. The stories of Lincoln and the way he reviewed them afterwards were very patchy. It felt like being in Sunday school, listening to a Bible story and then hearing the pastor relate the parable to something we experience in the real world. I feel like you can use anything as an analogy, but when it comes to relating what Lincoln did in the war to what we experience on a daily basis, I just didn't feel it.
Shipping was very quick.
Soft cover book.
1) Lincoln had a *very* difficult situation handed to him, and was not widely recognized as a strong leader for much of his first term.
-The country recently had a banking panic, thousands of business were failing, high unemployment, and government revenues were at all time lows.
-The confederacy at the onset of the war was far more organized, had better leadership, and was much more willing to go to war than the North.
-At the time Lincoln assumed office, he won a plurality of any candidate, but still a minority of the vote. Much of the union felt he was a 'second-rate country lawyer' and there was not at all the sense that he would go on to be a great leader.
-Within his cabinet, and within military staff, from other senators, people were CONSTANTLY questioning his leadership. This was perhaps the most eye-opening. One of highest ranking generals even ran against him during his 2nd election.
When you consider all of this, and the fact that Lincoln is consistently ranked as one of the top 3 presidents (very often as #1), it becomes much more clear that how things may seem at the time of a particular project or endeavor, is actually in no way related to good leadership.
2) Though he was extremely honest, Lincoln was good at converting former rivals into allies, and found the best people for the job, regardless if they disagreed with him, or even were plotting against him.
It seemed throughout the book as if almost everyone in his cabinet either questioned his judgement, or was actively considering running for president against Lincoln, or in some cases already had run against him.
In particular, Lincoln is most effective in converting Seward (contender for 1860 Republican nomination) - who served as Secretary of State with distinction, and Stanton - who ran the War Dept. into close allies. He appealed to their sense of patriotism, and to the fact that he truly needed their abilities to succeed.
In other cases like Gen. McClellan, and the Secretary of the Treasury - Chase, he used their abilities for as long as was viable, and when their differences were truly insurmountable, and hindering the larger efforts for the war, he got rid of them. Though honest, he was strategic in his use of people to accomplish objectives. Lincoln seemed to understand people very well.
3) Provide objectives, not orders.
Lincoln would provide overall objectives to this staff, rarely did he issue direct orders. He did not micromanage, and encouraged autonomy within certain limits. In some cases however, when generals would overstep their bounds (i.e. declare martial law when not necessary, or shoot young deserters), Lincoln would intervene and directly countermand their orders.
Lincoln would actually imply or suggest certain broad courses of action, and allow his staff to figure out the particular implementation necessary to succeed. He understood how to delegate just the right amount of responsibility. The corollary to this, is that he was also good at picking the right people when delegating.
4) In the face of intense criticism, Lincoln didn't lose his cool.
Lincoln rarely acted out of anger, even when situation warranted an angry response (i.e. when certain generals failed to respond to direct orders to engage the Confederacy's armies), nor did he take much the criticism from the press or other politicians too closely. There are numerous letters he wrote but never sent to allow himself to 'cool' down.
5) Lincoln understood strategy
Until Grant, it seemed as if none of the Union's generals had an understanding of war strategy and what was necessary to win. Somehow, though inexperienced, Lincoln seemed to grasp the key aspects of winning a war against the South (i.e. controlling the Mississippi, blockading the South, engaging the enemy directly in battle, and capturing Lee's army). A key episode covered in the book is when Meade wins the battle of Gettysburg, and has the opportunity to attack Lee's armies, who are trapped on one side of the Potomac. Lincoln is furious that Meade lets Lee get away.
At the time of his presidency, Lincoln went through countless generals, before he was able to rely on Grant. He is able to recognize talented generals from non-talented ones fairly quickly (by learning himself about war), and re-adjusts accordingly.
The book lists a graph showing his top staff, and he went through a management / organizational change almost every 3-4 months or so until he finally promoted Grant as his chief general. Most historians would agree that his previous generals were not doing a good job.
6) Lincoln was an excellent orator and writer, and was effective at communicating a vision.
The speeches are the one aspect of Lincoln that are often captured in your standard history books. They are still studied today.
Overall the book was good. I haven't read about the specifics of Lincoln's presidency in any depth before, and I learned a lot regarding his leadership style. Some drawbacks though is that at times the writing is greatly oversimplified, making a general leadership tenet from one very obscure anecdote about Lincoln.
Also, the author is not critical at all of Lincoln, and never once points out a mistake. Surely Lincoln made some mistakes during the war and his tenure in office, and at least writing from a more impartial standpoint would have been helpful.
The book is very well researched, and draws heavily from letters, writings, and other historical accounts.
Mostly, I learned to appreciate the incredibly difficult situation Lincoln inherited, from the moment he was first inaugurated to when he was assassinated, new problems constantly emerged. As a result of reading this book, I would be much more inclined to read something like Goodwin's Team of Rivals, which may fill in much more of the historical record.