Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mistakes Leadership

"He learned from his mistakes,he shared responsibility for the mistakes of others, and he did not hold grudges."

"Leadership Lessons from Abraham Lincoln: A Conversation with Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin," Harvard Business Review, April 2009.

The occasion for this reflection is President Barack Obama's embrace of Abraham Lincoln's leadership style and Goodwin's Team of Rivals. For all the talk of Lincoln's including rivals in his cabinet, Goodwin identifies "acknowledging mistakes" at least three times as a key dimension of his leadership. Goodwin describes this capacity as an element of emotional intelligence, which seems a distinctive addition to the ususal characteristics of positivity. That is, learning from mistakes is not seen as a solo, cognitive act but a process of group learning and adaptation.

"...[H]e shared responsibility for the mistakes of others, and so people became very loyal to him."

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