Known For: 16th President of the United States, Ending Slavery
Primary Soft Skills: Empathy, Communication Skills, Attitude, Resiliency, Critical Thinking
I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.
– Abraham Lincoln
How did a man born in the woods of Kentucky with less than 18 months of formal education become one of America’s most beloved presidents? Abraham Lincoln is renowned as an incredible leader. Strategic, thoughtful, and just, he led the United States through it’s most difficult era. Lincoln had the strategy, technique, and experience to lead this country through its Civil War.
His success can be attributed to his incredible array of soft skills. Scholars and historians still study his leadership today.
His Soft Skills
Lincoln always encouraged a healthy debate. He was a very patient man and there are many accounts of him listening to an angry citizen or the views of an opposing politician before calmly replying.
Even during the Civil War, Lincoln continued to be sympathetic and caring towards all involved in the war and, of course, slavery which he ended with the Emancipation Proclamation.
Lincoln’s story telling ability is legendary. If you Google “stories told by Abe Lincoln” entire articles and pages come up. He had the ability to relate to almost everyone through his stories and quips. Besides his storytelling, he was able to connect with his audience. He chose his words carefully and routinely boosted morale with his honest way of speaking to everyone.
The Gutenberg project has a great story about Lincoln’s communication:
Lincoln was a strong believer in the virtue of dealing honestly with the people.
“If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens,” he said to a caller at the White House, “you can never regain their respect and esteem.
“It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.”
Throughout his career as a lawyer and a politician, Lincoln developed incredible critical thinking skills. He was able to see an issue from both sides before deciding on a conclusion.
He had a deep ability to think outside the box and to see through other’s perspective. He was able to bring together groups of people with opposing political views and he could lead them to work together to solve the toughest issues.
Attitude & Resiliency
Lincoln worked as a farmer, postmaster, general store clerk, ferryboat crew, lawyer, and politician. At 23, he ran for the Illinois House of Representatives and lost. He did not give up, but continued learning and trying. Lincoln was hardworking and did not give up on achieving his goals.
He ran again in the following election and won his seat. From there he built his political career and twenty-six years later wins the presidential election.
What We Can Learn From Lincoln
There’s a lot to be learned from Lincoln. His rise to presidency has continued to fascinate and educate scholars and historians. How did a boy born in the a log cabin in the woods of Kentucky grow up to be one of the greatest presidents of the United States of America?
He proves that by utilizing his soft and technical skills with the perseverance to never give up on achieving his desired results.