Book of the Month: Team of Rivals
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
This book has altered my understanding of true leadership. Most Americans know various facts and tidbits in regards to the life of Abraham Lincoln, from his Gettysburg Address to his assassination. For many, he is regarded as one of the greatest American presidents. However, most of the stories told about Abraham Lincoln don’t capture the historical context, setting, and inner-workings of the men and women surrounding him at this time. Team of Rivals: The political Genius of Abraham Lincoln sheds light onto the true leadership of Abraham Lincoln by uncovering the varying nature (friend and foe) of those he was responsible to lead.
Many leaders surround themselves with “yes-men” who are too afraid to challenge the leader; this fear of feedback has caused the downfall of great organizations. Abraham Lincoln knew that in order to keep the Union together that he would have to select cabinet members that not only politically disagreed with him on some issues, but that were also at times openly hostile to the president. This book shows how the Union could have crumbled if it wasn’t for President Lincoln’s leadership of those who were the toughest to lead.
Is this book only important to those who are interested in American History? Absolutely not. This book is as influential and applicable as any best-selling business book. It embodies the 12th Keyser Principle, and the leadership from this book, when lived, will powerfully impact the direction of any company.
“We are 100% coachable. We do not resist feedback, we are never defensive, and we look deep within ourselves to identify where criticism could be even partially true. We find great value in the perspective of others and are fully committed to the consensus of the team.”