What Kind of Sales Manager Would Abraham Lincoln Be?
In 1863, President Lincoln made the Thanksgiving Holiday in America a law. Now is a good time to remember our 16th president. Recently, I read a few books about Abraham Lincoln-Founder’s Son (by Richard Brookhiser) and A. Lincoln (by Ronald White).
Lincoln was the unlikely candidate to be president. Lincoln had no managerial experience and only one year of schooling. He managed his paperwork by stuffing important papers into his tall hat.
However, I realized that Lincoln had a lot of the qualities that great salespeople possess: empathy, ambition, and people skills. He would have made a great candidate for an entry-level position in sales today, I’m certain. He would have been a great candidate for sales management because of his leadership abilities.
This begs the question: What kind of sales manager would Abe Lincoln make? You can decide…
Lincoln understood the importance listening and deep thinking.
When his parents invited guests to their home, Abe would be silent and attentive as a boy. He would not speak until his guests left. He would then write down the information he had learned and repeat it to himself until he understood it fully.
Lincoln was also a strong believer in analysis. Before he became a presidential candidate, he was a country attorney. Lincoln’s greatest strength was his ability focus on the case and master the principles. His law partner said that Lincoln not only got to the root of his question, but also dug into the root.
Lincoln was a great coach. Lincoln was a great coach. He used his skills and knowledge to guide people. Then he asked thoughtful questions to help them find their answers.
Lincoln’s generals failed to succeed in the Civil War’s first few years. He was very attentive to his generals’ actions and communicated frequently with them. He was careful to communicate his thoughts and suggestions through questions rather than giving direct orders.
Lincoln supported his top performers, even if it meant that they were a bit controversial within the organization.
Ulysses S. Grant was Lincoln’s most famous general. Grant’s popularity grew as he won victory after victory. Sometimes, Grant’s popularity was seen by others as a threat. A delegation of congressmen visited the White House to demand that Grant be fired for allegedly drinking too much. Lincoln told the congressmen it would be helpful to tell Grant which kind of whiskey Grant prefers because he’d love to buy it for his other generals.
Lincoln spent time listening to his customers.
Anyone could call the White House in the 1860s and have a better chance of seeing the President. Lincoln was known to take the time to greet people who stopped by without making an appointment to speak with him. Why? Because he wanted to get to know his customers, the American people. In the 19th century, there were no pollsters.
Lincoln kept his sense of humor even under stress.
Just as the country was about separating, Lincoln greeted reporters from the newspaper who had been following him throughout the campaign. “Well, boys. Your troubles are over now. My troubles are over now.
Lincoln managed to control his anger.
Lincoln’s commander George Meade, after the Union forces had won Gettysburg in 1863 did not pursue the Confederates who fled to Virginia. The battle was a significant turning point for the Union, but it wasn’t as decisive as Lincoln had hoped. Lincoln was devastated. He wrote General Meade a scathing letter criticizing him for wasting the opportunity. The letter to Meade, which was never signed or sent following Lincoln’s assassination 1865, was found in Lincoln’s desk. Lincoln was able to control his emotions and understood that anger could not reverse what had happened.
He never stopped learning and was always striving to be a better leader.
Lincoln’s greatest attribute was his ability learn. Lincoln was passionate about self-improvement. He was captivated by George Washington’s biography as a boy. He didn’t stop learning after he was elected to the White House. The Union army lost the majority of its battles during the Civil War’s first few years, 1861-1863. This frustration led Lincoln to borrow a book from Library of Congress entitled “Elements of Military Art and Science”. He then studied it in depth.
Lincoln started every day at work with the mindset of a learner and continued to develop his leadership skills. He was required to be great by the times.
What kind of sales manager would Abraham Lincoln make if he was alive today? He would make a great sales manager, no doubt! He had a different calling, which was good for us.