Doris Kearns Goodwin on Leadership

Doris Kearns Goodwin opened the EDUCAUSE general meeting this morning, recounting her years as an intern in the Johnson White House and talking about Abraham Lincoln. She received a standing ovation at the end of her talk – the first that I have ever seen at EDUCAUSE.

Her talk was full of great stories from her time as an intern along with stories from Abraham Lincoln’s and Johnson’s life. She brings great humor to her subject and the ability to reflect historical facts against current events and current issues.

She recounted her list of leadership qualities that she learned from researching Lincoln:

  1. Listen to disparate opinions. Allow debate but once a decision has been made, move on. Seeking consensus can be disabling.
  2. Learn on the job. Learn from mistakes.
  3. Share credit for success.
  4. Shoulder the blame for your subordinates.
  5. Set deadlines for action.
  6. Lincoln wrote hot letters that he would not send. He would vent his anger but not act on it.
  7. Possessed the strength to adhere to his fundamental goals.
  8. Know how to relax and re-energize yourself.
  9. Managed by walking around. Lincoln visited the troops in the field.

At the end of her talk, I instantly put her new book in my Wish List. I wonder if there was a mini-rush on the book at Amazon.

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