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Abraham Lincoln possessed extraordinary leadership skills that he employed to win the American Civil War, abolish slavery, and preserve a nation. While most leaders may display a unique style, there is much to learn from Abraham Lincoln. He used humor and storytelling to great effect. He understood when to criticize and when to hold his fire. He worked deliberately and he skillfully utilized various tools of persuasion. Perhaps most important of all, he was not afraid to change his mind. By examining specific moments in Lincoln’s life, we emerge better equipped to think about how to handle conflict and controversy in our own affairs. In studying and understanding Lincoln as a leader, we can strive toward new leadership heights.
Louis P. Masur, Ph.D. is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University. His most recent book is The Sum of Our Dreams: A Concise History of America (2020).
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