In a scene from Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln says to her husband: “No one is as loved by people as you are. Don’t waste that power.”. Spoiler: He doesn’t lose it.
Although the film focuses on the passage of the 13th amendment to abolish slavery, it also gives us a glimpse of the leadership skills of Lincoln, those that made him a character worthy of admiration.
Even if you are not a revolutionary leader in your country, here are four lessons from the 16th president of the United States to grow your startup:
1. Say “no” to people who always say “yes.” There was a time in history, when the United States was at war, when Lincoln chose to fill his cabinet with people who were his rivals. These men were considered the brightest minds in that country and were not afraid to challenge Lincoln and assert his opposition.
As he was a very confident man, he accepted strong opinions, as it provoked debates and internal reflections. She was a good tactic during his presidency. True leaders do not allow conflicts to build up, they bring them to the surface as soon as possible.
2. Be decisive. Although it’s good to have more than one opinion, strong leaders know when and how to make decisions. The members of his team could have argued forever, but Lincoln had the ability to know if he had all the information he needed.
When he went out alone, he was able to make the best decision without hesitation. Good leaders make their resolution very clear, identify wants and needs, and use them as a guide to compare options. In addition, they evaluate the risk of each one and their benefits.
3. Look for inspiration in unusual places. As a member of Congress, Lincoln studied mathematics to learn to reason. Leaders look beyond their industry for ideas and innovation.
4. Connect with people on a personal level. We know Lincoln was fair, but he was also known for his jokes and his storytelling. The way he broke the ice and reached common ground. He was also approachable. As president, he had regular office hours and citizens could come see him.
It’s not how smart you are, personal relationships and a high level of trust are the foundation of effective leadership, good leaders demonstrate empathy and care about others.