Intriguing Paradoxes for Leaders

I recently heard that there has been more written about Abraham Lincoln than any other single person in history – second only to Jesus.  That is pretty impressive.  In my stack of “read-before-getting-rid-of” books, I pulled out Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times by Donald T. Phillips.  I thought these  intriguing paradoxes, observed in Lincoln’s leadership, would be good for every leader:

1. He was charismatic yet unassuming.

2. He was consistent yet flexible.

3. He was trusting and compassionate, yet could also be demanding and tough.

4. He was a risk-taker and innovative, yet patient and calculating.

5. He claimed not to have total control of events, yet he took charge and was extraordinarily decisive.

What aspects of leadership do you need to learn from this?

This partial list was taken from Lincoln on Leadership, Warner Books, 1992

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