Lincoln - A Real Rule Breaker!

Friday, November 30, 2012
This week I watched Lincoln, a movie by Steven Spielberg that chronicled the second term of Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery. It made me think of leadership beyond leaders. In the movie, Lincoln struggled with continuing a civil war or continuing slavery.
Lincoln's struggles were evident.
He could take the path of least resistance by ending his demand to pass the 13th Amendment which would abolish slavery. The four year bloody battle would finally end, sons of the North and South would go home and the nation would return to business as usual; slaves and all.
The path of greatest resistance and the higher chance of failure included getting 100% of the members of his own Republican Party (which were not on board with the idea) along with 20 members of the Democratic Party to pass the unpopular Amendment. In addition, slavery would be abolished which have a negative impact on the South (a full 50% of the country), the bloodiest battle in American History would continue killing its own sons, and now his own son was in harm's way as a soldier.

As we all know, the 13th Amendment was passed. Although now the choice may be evident between right and wrong, at the time it had to be much more difficult to fight the masses that pressed against Lincoln's beliefs with so much to lose from either side.
It started me to think about today's leaders and leadership.
I always say that Leadership = Decision Makers + Risk Takers + Fear Facers.
Leaders must be decision makers regardless of how hard those decisions are. Lincoln stood by his decision to work towards the passage of the 13th Amendment although he knew that it meant he would be sending America's sons to war.
Leaders must be risk takers regardless of what they have to put on the line. Lincoln stood by what he thought was right although his own son's life was in harm's way. The risk of losing a second son to the war created a chasm between the President and Mrs. Lincoln; so he was also risking his marriage.
Leaders must be fear facers. Although Lincoln had nightmares that he was completely alone and abandoned by everyone he still stood in the face of fear and stood up for what he knew was right.
If there was ever an example of true leadership, we could clearly see it in this depiction of Lincoln. He made tough decisions, took huge risks, faced his fears, and broke "the rules" of society to do what he knew was right.


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