Abraham Lincoln's Leadership Style Essay Sample

Published: 2018-03-10
Abraham Lincoln's Leadership Style Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Politics Abraham Lincoln Leadership style Transformational leadership
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1609 words
14 min read

Leadership responsibilities

Leaders are expected to influence others, not just in the accomplishment of goals, but also to instill good behavior which later results in good morals. A leader is expected to give support to others such that they are able to engage in the right activities and behavior. They determine the direction that people should take whereby they set up a vision and engage in innovation such that they bring about new features. The leadership process entails establishing a framework that shows directions for conducting operations such that the set goals and objectives are met at the expected time. Also, leaders are expected to exhibit adequate management skills for them to guide their leaders accordingly and in the right direction (Frick, 2011). President Lincoln is among the leaders whose leadership and knowledge enabled him to change history and influence the people that he associated with.

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From a general perspective, a leader should be able to develop a motivating vision for future prospects, boost the morale of people to take part in the achieving the vision, adequately handle the processes involved in achieving the vision and building a reliable team that applies efficient effort in establishing the vision. Lincoln, in the film about one America’s greatest presidents, who was able to contribute to the development of America through his efficient leadership skills. He can be perceived to what is referred to as a servant leader. An individual who is a servant leader does not consider himself or herself as superior to others but rather work together with his or her followers in the achievement of a particular vision (Frick, 2011). Such a leader is driven by the desire for the welfare and development of people around them. The leader shares his authority whereby he focuses on the needs of other people and ensures that the people around him experience progress and growth. Such a leader takes into consideration the views of other people in addition to providing them with the support that is necessary for accomplishing tasks and their personal development. Such a leader also involves others in the decision-making in addition to creating good relation among his or her team members. The outcomes include the development of trust, respect in addition to increased motivation and innovation. Servant leadership is not a technique but rather a behavior that is established after a long period of time. It results in transformation such that progress is achieved when the leader fully participates in the involved activities (Frick, 2011).

Leadership skills examples

Servant leaders exhibit good listening skills whereby, instead of making decisions on their own, they allow the presentation of views from others, listen to them, and brainstorm on the views together with them until all parties agree to a particular decision (Frick, 2011). In the film, Lincoln exhibits adequate listening skills whereby he puts into perspective different points of view when engaged in a discussion. He established an environment where the members of the cabinet were allowed to freely express their views, whether good or bad, without fearing any form of reprisal. He also knew when to stop an argument after taking into consideration various views and then announce his decision with valid explanations. Through this skill, he was able to put an end to slavery (Spielberg, 2012).

President Abraham Lincoln took his role as president during the civil war, which is perceived to be one of the most important phases in America. During this period, the slave trade was the main issue bringing about the conflict. It is worth noting that by 1820, almost thirteen million people had landed in the American lands as after discovering it whereby a large portion of them slaves that had been obtained from Africa by the European colonies (Sardello, 2008). Between the years 1500 and 1922, America was exhibiting a massive growth in its economy especially in the agriculture sector whereby most slaves provided the required labor. I the year 1860, during the presidential elections in America, Abraham Lincoln led the Republicans to ban the issue of slavery in America. However, not every person, especially from the southern states supported the ban. The opponents perceived it to be an act of aggression that was anti- constitutional especially since the south highly depended on slaves when it came to labor. During the elections, a majority of the votes went to the Republican Party, and Abraham Lincoln became the first president from the Republican Party. The win made seven states that highly relied on agriculture to split from the Federal Union and form the Confederacy. Lincoln became prompted to protect the Union whereby he announced to go to war in 1861 and hence the establishment of the Civil War between states in the Federal Union and the states in the Confederate. With his confidence and calmness, most people perceived him to be a leader full of compassion and care for his people regardless of their differences (Sardello, 2008).

Leadership qualities in politics

From an analytical perspective, the Confederate states can be perceived to have been selfish whereby they focused more on what they were gaining from the slaves instead of considering their welfare. However, for the states in the Federal Union, they perceived the slaves to have rights similarly to other people and hence needed to be free and independent. Despite facing challenges that were formed by the Confederate States in regards to social and economic facets, Lincoln stuck to his decision of banning the trade. His drive can be perceived to be innate whereby he was driven by what he felt in his heart instead of external facets. Such a quality presents the aspect of effective listening whereby Lincoln took his time to listen to the views from all parties that in turn helped in making decisions (Sardello, 2008).

The film begins with Lincoln situated in a wet and foggy area in one of the camps of the Union Army whereby he is engaged in a conversation with two African American soldiers. He begins the conversation by asking for the names of the soldiers, a question that leads to a discussion of inequality present in their army; the Union Army. Lincoln listens to the soldiers attentively as they explain about their life as soldiers and only speaks when asking questions (Spielberg, 2012). The scene presents a good example of the president illustrating his willingness to use his time to listen to the view of his followers. The scene shows a man with a desire to relate to others and empathize with their situations. Instead of using the time to motivate his army, he uses it to listen to some of his men and ask questions and takes his time instead of showing any rush in the conversation. A leader who is a good listener analyzes an issue with a party that is affected whereby he or she listens to every detail and also questions when necessary without any interruption (Burley-Allen, 1995). Any leader who was in his situation who lacked the listening skills would have used that time to talk about the significance of the war and use words to motivate them to take part in the war. However, he opted to listen to the men such that he gave them the time to express themselves (especially since they were the affected party because of racial discrimination) and keenly took note of their sentiments; a rare opportunity that they had to converse with the president. In this scene, he exhibits individual listening whereby he listens to people who have the same experiences and present similar views. However, in the scenes where Lincoln is engaging in conversation with members of Congress who share different opinions, he exhibits group listening. From a general perspective, listening allowed Lincoln to empathize with his followers such that he made decisions that benefited others instead of selfish gain. Through his listening skills, he was able to remain firm on his decision to ban slavery despite the challenges presented by the Confederates.

Abraham Lincoln leadership skills

From a personal perspective, Lincoln presents a good example of effective listening and its role in leadership. The module has laid out the features of effective listening that include empathy, listening without interruptions, exercising patience in addition to taking one’s time to go through an issue with the affected parties. Lincoln ability to exercise these features contributed greatly to his achievements. Therefore, I have learned that effective listening is important when it comes to exhibiting good leadership. Effective listening requires patience, empathy and critical analysis of situation before rushing in making any decisions.

As stated earlier, a servant leader does not consider himself or herself as superior to others but rather works together with his or her followers in the achievement of a particular vision. Such a leader is driven by the desire for the welfare and development of people around them. Also, effective listening is one of the qualities of a servant leader in the sense that he or she takes the time to listen to the views of other people and include others when making decisions. From a personal perspective, by employing effective listening skills through empathy, listening without interruptions, exercising patience in addition to taking one’s time to go through an issue with the affected parties, I will able to lead others well in addition to being successful in achieving any goals.


Frick, D. (2011). Greenleaf and Servant-Leader Listening. Westfield: The Greenleaf Center. Greenleaf, Robert. (1996). On Becoming a Servant Leader. San Francisco: JosseyBass.

Burley-Allen, M. (1995). Listening: The Forgotten Skill—A Self-Teaching Guide. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Sardello. R. (2008). Silence: The mystery of wholeness. Benson, NC: Golden Stone and the movie Lincoln.

Spielberg, S. (director). (2012). Lincoln. USA: DreamWorks.

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