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Lead Like a General

His ability to lay out these tradeoffs was rooted in his ability to slow down and then harness deep intellectual and emotional analysis in order to frame the issues properly for himself and for those who looked to him to lead. Understand the power of doing nothing : It is natural to want to take a swing when tempers are running hot, but this reaction usually makes things worse and is a big part of why our public life today has become so dysfunctional.

He understood that we rarely make good decisions when emotional temperatures are high and, as a result, he cultivated the self-discipline to take no action in such circumstances. Consider, for example, the immediate aftermath of the battle of Gettysburg in July the th anniversary of which we marked earlier this month.

Lincoln was furious that Union General George Meade decided not to pursue the demoralized Confederate troops as they headed south—with an eye toward decisively crushing the enemy once and for all. By doing nothing, Lincoln made a conscious decision to not risk alienating the Northern general and thus potentially sabotaging his mission to save the Union.

Nicole Devine

Expressing white-hot emotions in the moment, as Lincoln realized, often wreaks damage to the world, your followers, and a noble cause. By contrast, sitting with your emotions and resisting the temptation to act on them does no harm and, in some cases, may even give the issue at hand the time and space to sort itself out.

The power of doing nothing is especially important in our age of instant and often incendiary communication on social media. You must keep bolstering your muscles of moral courage in the face of critics—and make no mistake, they always come. For example, as the Civil War grew more and more brutal in the summer of , Lincoln faced censure on all sides. In the North, many Americans demanded an end to the carnage—even if such a peace meant Southerners would keep their slaves.

To make matters worse, it was a presidential election year, and as the cries for peace grew ever louder, Lincoln realized he would probably be defeated in November. Meet the Board. Meet the Staff.

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Lead Like A General by Paul A. Gilbert

Make a Contribution. Lead like a General: Modern research on leadership as seen through the Civil War. Lead like a General: Modern research on leadership as seen through the Civil War Add To Cart. The problem is that the chess metaphor quickly breaks down. Chess is an orderly game, with clear rules and alternating moves between players.

Lincoln + The Power of Mission In Lead Like a General

In real life, the competition is free to move multiple pieces and pummel you on multiple fronts, without waiting respectfully for your next move. Events unfold faster and with more complexity than one person can master, or for hierarchical decision processes to monitor, assess, decide and act. The speed and interconnected nature of the competitive battlefields renders both heroic leaders and hierarchical organizations too slow to survive.

Lead Like A General

Instead of heroic leaders, McChrystal argues, we need leaders that act more like humble gardeners. Similarly, leaders need to understand that competitive success cannot depend on move-by-move control. Smart autonomy is the ability, responsibility and authority of every part of the team to take action as best it sees fit in pursuit of the overall strategy. Every part of the team must be tightly linked to common strategies and mission.