Abraham Lincoln on Leadership Pt. 1 “Taking out the trash”


Abraham Lincoln is arguably one of the best presidents of the United States. Growing up from humble beginnings in the 1800’s, self-educated, and teaching himself law in his home state of Illinois. Lincoln became president during a time of grate turmoil and uneasiness. Therefore, he was able to express is solid leadership skills and deep moral convictions. He spent little time on trivial matters of gossip and interrelationship drama. Lincoln spend more of his time building strong allegiances with his fellow politicians and American citizens. He was steadfast yet flexible in the way he conducted himself amongst the members of his administration. This established him as a strong leader within an office that lead the country though times of change.


Lincoln spent much of his time learning about the people he was serving. Understanding their wants, needs, and future aspirations. He never forgot where he came from. He kept his moral grounded within his own personal knowledge of how simple life can be, with drive to making it better for everyone. Through his humility, he was able to manage a team of men that were of such ego. His strong leadership skills amongst his administration was rooted in pure honesty and humbleness. Lincoln new what was needed in order to keep the trust and allegiance of his fellow staff members. He knew that he needed to cut to the black and white of the issues and make sound decisions based on the information he received. His administration respected him for this stance. This allowed him to keep a strong tight knit organization to lead a country in influx.

In response to critices who urged the dismissal of General Grant after the batter of Shiloh, President Lincoln stated, “I can’t spare this man. He fights.” 

He made changes, and took out the trash when this was needed. In 1864, Lincoln sent a letting responding to Salmon P. Chase’s request for resignation. This was not the first time Mr. Chase had requested to lead the administration. He done this before to use this action as leverage with the president to get his way. These types of games would not stand with the president. He was not about to let a one apple spoil the basket. His response was as follows:

My Dear Sir.

Your resignation of the office of Secretary of the Treasury, sent me yesterday, is accepted. of all I have said in commendation of your ability and fidelity, I have nothing to unsay; and yet you and I have reached a point of mutual embarrassment in our official relation which it seems can not be overcome, or longer sustained, consistently with the public service. 

Your Obt. Servt. 

A. Lincoln


This was  kind way of saying “Get out of my house, we have no further business to attend to”. Lincoln was upstanding and graceful in his approach when the time came to releve someone from their post. He had sound reasons, and always presented a logical and honest argument to the accused. In the above instance, the president noticed the pattern that Chase had fallen in, when the time presented itself, he took action to extinguish the issue, which was the removing of Chase from office. The question remains, would Lincoln have removed Chase from office if the opportunity had not presented itself in such a clean fashion? How long would he had endured the games? I propose that Mr. Lincoln would have fixed the problem sooner than later. Lucky for Secretary Chase, he was able to have a say in his departure.

We can learn from this. We can learn to notice problems before they arise within our own relationships with other people. By looking for patterns, we can establish our next mode of action to take. If we see someone that is acting like in a uncouth manner that is pattern based, we can approach the situation with knowledge and gracefulness.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s