From Michael Hyatt here. I read this today and was reminded to shore up some of my own weaknesses in leading others. I originally read this list in a book on Lincoln.
Sometimes you learn from positive role models. Often you learn from negative ones. This is one of the reasons I love to read history—you inevitably get both.
After watching Steven Spielberg’s movie Lincoln, I decided to review Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I had read this book a few years ago. It is a page-turning account of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and his political genius.
At the beginning of Lincoln’s first term, he appointed each of his former Republican rivals—those who had run against him for his party’s nomination—to cabinet posts. The narrative demonstrates his amazing ability to tap into a broad array of perspectives and create alignment among those who often disagreed violently with one another.
Unfortunately, Lincoln’s leadership was not perfect. He occasionally selected men for public service who were unworthy of his trust. One such individual was General George B. McClellan, commander of the “Army of the Potomac” and, eventually, first general-in-chief of the Union Army.
General McClellan had significant character flaws that I believe serve as warning signs to anyone in leadership. Ultimately, these cost him dearly: He lost Lincoln’s confidence, his job, and a run for the White House (against Lincoln). Worse, they prolonged the Civil War and cost the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers on both sides of the conflict.
Here are the five flaws I jotted down as I read the book:
President Lincoln had the patience of Job. He gave General McClellan numerous opportunities to correct his behavior and redeem himself. But in the end, McClellan either could not or would not do so. He left the President no choice but to relieve him of his duties.
These same character flaws afflict many leaders today. The best safeguard is self-awareness.
By the way, you might want to read this post with your team and then discuss it. Even better, read the book and discuss it.
Question: Do you see any of these flaws in your own leadership? What can you do to correct them now—while you still have time? You can leave a comment by clicking here.