Episode 33: Leadership Lessons from Lincoln
We sometimes think we have things so rough. Our 16th President was probably one of the most revered and the most hated figures by his contemporaries. Abraham Lincoln was elected by what was then the lowest plurality in an American election to date. The country was disintegrating, military leaders and cabinet members questioned his leadership, and there were numerous threats on his life. In spite of it all, Lincoln’s approach to managing people and circumstances fostered innovation and engagement. Lincoln developed and used his amazing talent for Coaching and public Speaking. He kept people in his organization engaged while delivering at the most challenging news at often the most challenging of times. His methods for providing feedback to wayward subordinates would be the envy of any leader anywhere. We would do well to learn from his experiences the next time we are frustrated because something that was supposed to happen didn’t or a colleague let us down.
Steve Rogstad is an author, speaker, instructor and lifelong student of Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Rogstad taught college courses on Lincoln, and has served as editor for the Lincoln Fellowship of Wisconsin and the Lincoln Herald journal of Lincoln Memorial University. He wrote introductions to The Gettysburg Soldiers’ Cemetery and Lincoln’s Address by Frank L. Klement (1993) and The Limits of Dissent: Clement L. Vallandigham and the Civil War by Frank L. Klement (1998). He was co-editor for The Many Faces of Lincoln (1997) and edited/ introduced Lincoln’s Critics: The Copperheads of the North by Frank L. Klement (1999). He is the author of Companionship in Granite: Celebrating the Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln Monument (1998), and Racine’s Lincoln Legends: Laying Three Myths to Rest (2014). In April 2008 Mr. Rogstad was appointed by Governor James Doyle to the Wisconsin Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Phone: 262-412-2511 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lee: Good morning, this is Lee Hubert sitting in for Jeff Smith and you’re listening to Illuminating Leadership. This is the Voltcast from Voltage Leadership. We would like to give a shout out to those folks who are listening to our Voltcast from around the globe. We get people calling us from virtually every corner of the world.
We’ve got people listening in Pakistan and India and China, in UAE, in Saudi, and pretty much every state in the United States. Jeff Smith, our CEO is traveling today. He’s on an assignment in New York City and if he can make it there, he can make it anywhere right? We want to give a shout out to Jeff Smith. He’s doing great work up there.
Just oh thanks so much for joining us. Again this is Lee Hubert, the Principal Consultant at Voltage Leadership sitting in for Jeff Smith who’s on assignment in New York City. I really want to thank you for being here with us and I’ll be hosting today’s Voltcast Illuminating Leadership. You can reach us during the show today at 866-472-5788.
That is 866-472-5788. You can also email me at Lee@VoltageLeadership.com or Jeff@VoltageLeadership.com. Our website is www.VoltageLeadership.com. You can like us on Facebook at Voltage Leadership or you can connect with us on LinkedIn at Lee Hubert Voltage Leadership Consulting or Jeff Voltage Leadership Consulting. You can follow Jeff Smith on Twitter @JMUJeff and you all know that stands for James Madison University, the national champions. Today we have an interesting topic. We have a great guest. We’re going to be talking about leadership lessons from our 16th President and that would be Abraham Lincoln, very pleased to have with me a long time friend and Lincoln scholar, my friend, Steve Rogstad. Go ahead and say hello, Steve.
Steven: Hi Lee, how are you today?
Lee: Doing excellent, how about yourself? How are things in Milwaukee and Chicago area today?
Steven: It’s a beautiful day and I just can’t tell you how excited I am to be here with you.
Lee: Excellent, well here in southern Virginia we had a little bit of rain. We’re kind of done with the rain. We want it to go away. It’s about to turn into summertime here so we’re happy to have Steve Rogstad with us today. A little bit about Steve he’s an author, a fabulous speaker, Lincoln instructor, leadership instructor, lifelong student of Abraham Lincoln. He’s taught college courses at the university level at University of Wisconsin Parkside at Carroll College, now Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Steve has served as the editor of a couple different journals for Lincoln Fellowship as the editor of Lincoln Fellowship in Wisconsin and the Lincoln Herald Journal of Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee. Steve is also an author. He’s authored numerous reviews and articles related to Abraham Lincoln. People who are really Lincoln scholars seek him out to write the forewords to their books such as The Gettysburg Soldier Cemetery by Frank Clement and others.
He is also the coeditor of the Many Faces of Lincoln and edited Lincoln’s Critics. In addition to that he is an author himself of The Companionship in Granite: Celebrating the Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln Movement and I am happy to say that he was appointed back to the—by the then governor of Wisconsin, James Doyle in 2008 to the Wisconsin Lincoln Bicentennial Commission so we’ve got a real hitter here when it comes to Lincoln and I’m very glad to be able to call him my friend of over 20 years. Would you give a big Illuminating Leadership welcome to Mr. Steven Rogstad? Woohoo.
Today’s show is going to unfold in about three segments. We’re going to be talking about the challenges that Lincoln faced, the world that he lived in. Then we’re going to talk about what we usually would do at Illuminating Leadership. Some of the practical tips and takeaways that you can glean from following Lincoln and then later on in the show we’re going to be talking about how you can apply some of these tips and tools.
What are the key takeaways from our show today? The first thing we wanted to talk about Steve is to get your thoughts about you know the world that Lincoln lived in. What were the things that were going on with him that people should know about and set up our lessons learned?
Steven: Well I think primarily Lincoln’s life is one of being a master politician and the issues that he dealt with in his day aren’t much different than the ones we deal in our day except he was dealing with slavery and how that would affect the government and how it would affect the public. He had not only to influence people in groups and teams, but he also had to work with opponents. He had to work with public opinion, which are great constraints at his time.
Lee: Interesting you know when you think about that time frame the nation was divided geographically. It was divided morally and racially, very intense time.
Steven: Very similar to the age we’re living in right now. It’s just that—the same animal, just has a little bit of a different hide on it, but the constraints that he faced, the problems he faced, all very similar to the age we live in today.
Lee: Interesting, well you know sometimes we think we have it so rough and you know Lincoln was probably one of the most revered in even unreversed figures by his contemporaries. He was elected by what was then the lowest plurality in American history, American elections to date. Country was pretty much disintegrating. The military leaders and the cabinet members questioned his leadership and you know there were numerous threats on his life and ultimately you know somebody did take his life, so you know what context—you know, tell me about the world Lincoln when he would knock on the door at his office. What was it like for him?
Steven: Well it was the day of unrelenting stress probably no different than any other American President. Unfortunately for him, he had the practice of opening the White House to the public for several hours a few days a week and so he actually was able to meet the public head on. He called that his public opinion bands where he would gage what people were thinking. It was very useful to him to understand exactly what the public thought on issues. He you know at the end of the day you realize that all the problems that he faced were people problems.
Well you really can’t have a problem without a person being in the originator of it and so if you’re looking at a budget, somebody created the budget. If you’re looking at a problem with public opinion, somebody spoke out of turn. If you’re looking for trying to get a team together and it’s not working well that’s because you’ve got a team of human beings who aren’t getting along. All these problems are people problems at their origin and so every problem he faced was a people problem, but the context was different for most of them.
Lee: Interesting so some of the challenges, the managerial things that Lincoln faced were things like difficult subordinates navigating you know the current landscape politically challenges professionally and personally. In other words, life was happening to him and happening to him in abundance. You know one of the things that always struck me about Lincoln is that he had very little executive experience. He had very little military experience and the people around him really did not have a lot of confidence in him, his advisors and his cabinet, they all thought he was very green and how old was Lincoln again when he—how old was Lincoln when ascended into the Presidency?
Steven: Well he was 52 years old and he served until he turned 56 and died shortly thereafter.
Lee: Okay, I understand. Well we’re in a couple of minutes we’re going to be coming up on a break, but I wanted to tee this up, so you know we think we have it so bad. You know Lincoln was one of those people that has an amazing talent for coaching and public speaking. He kept people in his organization engaged even when he was delivering really challenging news and often the most challenging times. The methods that he provided—used to provide feedback was a wayward subordinate or anybody else for that matter would be the envy of any leader anywhere and will do well to learn from those experiences.
As we get ready to enter the next segment with Steve Rogstad, we’re going to drill down on some of the practical tips and tools that you all can use from our 16th President. Steve as we get ready to Segway out of this go into break, what are the thoughts of things you wanted to tee up first on the other side of break.
Steven: Well I want—I think it’s important for us to realize how Lincoln viewed other people and in that regard, he always practiced the philosophy that you need to view people, especially your opponents as equals. Along with that came all sorts of strategies for how to do that which I think is vital to understanding how Lincoln became such a successful master politician and I mean that in the truest genuine way.
Lee: Interesting so treat them as equals is almost like a line from The Godfather, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Right?
Steven: He was the Godfather of the cabinet let me tell you.
Lee: I love it. Well we’re coming up on a break and I just wanted to make a point. You know if your organization or team is really looking for sound or practical leadership tools that can be applied immediately, you’ll want to hang on through the break and listen to what Steve Rogstad is going to be sharing with us today because Lincoln’s points of leadership are points of leadership for the ages. I’ve got some questions for you Steve so as we get ready to go to break, yes I want you to be thinking about the things that put your managerial head on here. You are in the contemporary world. You’re leading a team.
You’re leading an organization, what are the must haves from Lincoln that we can put in our listener’s toolbox and have them apply immediately. Okay so again you’re listening to Illuminating Leadership. This is Lee Hubert sitting in for Jeff Smith. Our guest today is Steven K. Rogstad of Racine, Wisconsin. Really well known and August Lincoln scholar and I’m again I’m proud to call him my friend.
We’re going to be talking about Lincoln thinking and his approach to the ways he managed people in the business of the nation in often the most turbulent times. Getting ready—coming up on about another minute or so Steve we’re going to break. I want to put the outline together. You talked about people. I’m going to add a couple of other things. We’re going to talk about character and we’re going to talk about the ability to communicate because I think those things in the world of Lincoln are related. He was a master.
Steven: They absolutely are, and you know we contemporary society has always viewed Ronald Reagan as the master communicator, but I think if you went back and looked at Lincoln’s era, he would have been known as the master communicator. Most of his communications were made for being written and spoken, but he was a master at it and he was beloved because of his communications and the way he communicated, which was equally important.
Lee: Okay great. Well I’ll tell you what we’re coming up on break. We’ll see you all in two minutes. Stay tuned. We’ve got lots to share with you on the other side. See you in two.
Lee: Hello and welcome back. This is Lee Hubert, the Principal Consultant at Voltage Leadership sitting in for Jeff Smith today. Jeff is on assignment up in New York City and once again Jeff if you’re listening, we’ll give you a shout out up there. If you can make it there, you’re going to make it, anywhere right?
We’re very pleased today to have with us my guest and friend, Steve K. Rogstad from Racine, Wisconsin who is a Lincoln scholar and we’re talking about lessons in leadership from Lincoln and there’s some excellent ones here. Once again if you want to join us during the show, you can call in at 866-472-5788 or if you want to, you can email me live during the show at Lee@VoltageLeadership.com. Steve before the break we were talking about the world that Lincoln lived in. Now we’re going to transition a little bit to some practical tips and tools that we can apply immediately, the list of Lincoln leadership traits. What’s the first thing that’s on the top of your list?
Steven: Well as I said just before the break you know listen to opponents as equals and when I say that what I mean is Lincoln never would say, “Act out of spite. Never act out of malice. Never act out of vengeance. Never demonize people much less your opponents.” View them as intellectual and emotional equals. Look beyond their social and political affiliations and you know it’s very hard for us to do, but we can do it and we need to do it if we’re going to be able to communicate and lead effectively, very diverse teams.
Lee: Interesting so what I hear you saying is the first point that we want to talk about in terms of a tip or a tool is the capacity to listen to different points of view. You don’t have to necessarily agree with it, but you do have to understand it. Is that what I hear you saying?
Steven: Absolutely, I mean if you look at Lincoln during the way, he never demonized the south. He never demonized the southern leaders. I mean he—even going earliest that far back as 1858 when discussing slavery, he would say, “Those people are no different than us northerners are. If we were in their position, we would be probably thinking and acting the same way.” This ability to empathize with people was huge because after he died the south thought they lost their best friend.
Lee: Interesting, well you know one of the things that I always admired about Lincoln in the times I’ve used this subject matter myself, I mean I’ve given the Lincoln lessons myself in a different format in healthcare and healthcare clients and different organizations that we consult with. One of the things that just amazed me was Lincoln’s ability to take somebody to the woodshed and engage with the news that you know it made them—still kept them engaged. Anyhow well we had a little technical difficulty there.
We’re waiting on Steve Rogstad to come back with us. Like I said, we’re talking about practical tips and tools that Abraham Lincoln used as points of leadership. Another one was Lincoln’s ability to learn on the job. Remember he came to the presidency at a relatively early age. He was only 52 years old, relatively young as today’s standards and he had the ability to navigate so he had to study resources and he had to study people. He had to know when to delegate. You think about.
When you think about what was taking place during the Civil War, you know he really could not find a lot of people that he had a lot of confidence in and to get his things done and there was one of his favorite sayings is you know you read about Lincoln. You run into a tree stump, he said, “Don’t kill yourself trying unroot the stump, just plough around it.” Steve what are the other tips and tools that you think that are on your Lincoln list out of the must haves for leaders.
Steven: Well the other one would be control your emotions. Lincoln was noted for his ability to reason through a situation objectively without getting emotional about it. When he’s trying to craft an argument to sell a point or to sell an idea, you must logically bring people through the process of thinking logically. To get mad or to infuse any sort of emotion in that Lincoln says is counterproductive.
You need to be logical and so his arguments are always logical arguments and he also—you know Lincoln did have a temper when he was a young man. We don’t normally associate Lincoln having a temper, but he could be so sarcastic in his political verbiage that grown men were brought to tears because they were at the receiving end of his verbiage. He learned over a course of time that you really had to squelch that temper and bring that under control.
Lee: Are you telling me that Lincoln was snarky? I just can’t picture that. I can picture Lincoln the vampire fighter you know, the vampire killer, but you know Abraham with an attitude or being angry.
Steven: You know who we also have to remember that when he lived it was the age of party politics so whether you happen to perhaps even agree with an opposition that opponent had, the party would say you need to come out and go after it. Lincoln was a party then. He did go after people, but he was so skilled at it that like I say you know when he went after somebody it stung. He learned though after a great deal of time that this is a part of his character, a part of his leadership that just simply was not going to be beneficial. He was very able to suppress that.
Lee: Interesting so one of the things that I remember about Lincoln is that he always did circulate amongst the troops literally. He was management by walking around. It was difficult to miss him because he was so tall and then we put that stove pipe pad on top of his head. He probably looked you know seven feet tall so when you think about he was out you know circulating amongst his generals, but certainly amongst the troops.
He was in the field and a lot of—that’s a lesson that a lot of management could learn right now because some of the things we hear, Jeff will hear it. I’ll hear it. Jennifer will hear it at Voltage Leadership because there’s a disconnect with the front line. What are your thoughts about that, about managing by walking around?
Steven: Well Lincoln certainly believed he was not going to be able to have a proper and comprehensive gage of public opinion or what his organization was thinking be it the army. If he was always going to be on the second floor of the White House and so he would go out and visit not only the troops, but he also wanted to have face to face with the generals to find out what they were thinking, and it worked. You know I referred earlier to what referred to as his public opinion bands when he would sit with the public. You know you have it on both sides. The public’s coming in to see the president and now the president is going out to see the people and.
Both worked very beneficial for him in terms of trying to understand just where people were emotionally all these social and economic issues of his day.
Lee: Interesting, well you mentioned the ability to control emotions just a short time ago. I can think of a famous instance where you know the Civil War was intense you know they had Gettysburg. He wrote a letter to General Meade about his lack of action or you know what Lincoln wanted him to do and he didn’t end up doing it and it could have shortened the Civil War and so he could have probably a bunch of lives. Lincoln was masterful at dealing with situations like that where you have a subordinate person who either isn’t performing. What are your thoughts about how he dealt with Meade and what did he say to him?
Steven: Well Meade had the opportunity no question to probably end the war in July of 1863. When we think of that in terms of a timeline, we’re looking at at least a year and a half before it ended. He simply had to go after Lee and you know basically conquer Lee’s army. He failed to do that. He let Lee escape and Lincoln realized the error. He wrote him a very long letter in which he basically told Meade your golden opportunity is lost, and I am distressed immeasurably about.
He didn’t fire Meade moreover he never sent the letter. It was found in his effects after his death.
It goes to show I think that one, he had to somehow find a vent for his emotions and for Lincoln it would have been writing. He did that. Now once he was able to get that emotion out of his system then he had to balance the benefits against the detriments of sending that letter. What would it do to Meade? What would it do for the morality army who’s under Meade’s command? You know there’s all these factors that go into it. Lincoln decided to pocket the letter and never send it.
Lee: Interesting so let me relate that to the workplace. Remember we’re talking about practical tips and takeaways, tools you can apply immediately from the 16th President of the United States. If I’m managing somebody who for whatever reason isn’t performing and I realize that I can have a temper a la Abraham Lincoln and I need to give this feedback and I’m distressed immeasurably. Now in today’s parlance we might use different words okay.
This is strong language from a commander in chief to subordinate person. Somebody on the team who is not getting it done and he is distressed immeasurably by it. There’s a lesson there. One of the things that I always heard about Lincoln and we’re going to talk a little bit more as we’re coming up on another break, we’ll get into the last segment. We’ll have wrapped some of this in terms of the key takeaways, lessons from Lincoln on leadership, but he always had the ability to realize that other people can do some things better than he does. He was aware of his own weaknesses. What are your thoughts on that?
Steven: Well he certainly did know that he was not the best gifted when it came to for example army discipline. He certainly would not have been the favorite of anybody in terms taking control of military—being a military commander or issuing military orders. He did it with disastrous results. He knew that was not his strong point. With Lincoln it was I can’t find someone to do it the way I want it done so I’m going to do it myself, which of course did not work and so Lincoln had to cultivate patience to find the right person with the right skillset that could come in and do the job on his timeline.
Lee: Interesting, what you just said, “Patience, find the right person with the right skillset to do the right job on his timeline.” There are a lot of times in the world of practical reality and leadership people don’t do that. They have the wrong person and the wrong job for the wrong reasons and they’re not on anybody’s timeline. That’s why things aren’t getting done so for you all listening, you want to be jotting some of these things down. These are practical tips and takeaways from our 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Interesting what about Lincoln’s ability to communicate his vision?
Steven: Well I would say Lincoln’s strongest attribute during the four years of war was he had a definition of what that war was in his mind. He communicated that vision and that goal which was of course winning the war to the northern people for four straight years. I’ll tell what’s that vision and that goal and not waver from it and not compromise it that he had to stick with it for four years otherwise the message of the vision would be superficial and rather meaningless. You know to stick with a message whether it’s popular or not for four straight years can be a very difficult thing to do, but he did it. He stuck with.
Lee: Speaking of that we’re going to stick with that same message after. We’re coming up on the break. This is Illuminating Leadership. We’re going to catch you up with another two minutes with Steven K. Rogstad so see you in two.
Lee: Hello and welcome back. This is Lee Hubert sitting in for Jeff Smith. I’m the Principal Consultant at Voltage Leadership consulting in Roanoke, Virginia. We’re very pleased to have with as our guest today, Lincoln’s scholar, Steve Rogstad and we’ve been talking about some practical tips and pointers and takeaways from our 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
We’ve talked about things like the capacity to listen to different points of view, learning on the job, the ability to control emotions, realizing other people can sometimes do things better than we can, how to communicate a vision even if it’s unpopular and stick with it. In our last segment, Steve let’s talk about some of the key takeaways of the must haves. One of the things that I’ve always admired about Lincoln is that he was willing to accept the blame for failure and willing to share the credit for success. What are your thoughts about that?
Steven: Well absolutely. You know Lincoln never really thought of himself as intellectually superior to anybody or that his position was superior to anybody. He was simply an elected head at that moment in time. When things went bad he was the first to accept the blame especially with the casualty losses in some of the battles.
At the same token you know even when they tried to give him credit he would make the comment for example you know these people came to see the brass buttons of you know Grant. They didn’t come to see an office holder’s broad cloth meaning his own clothes. You know he was very quick to try to deflect any sort of credit onto himself, always giving it to the other people saying they were the ones that really got the job done not me.
Lee: Interesting so when you think about lessons from Lincoln on leadership, you’re accomplishing your mission and your goals through people and one of the ways to capture their discretionary effort, the heart, and their mind is to be willing to share the credit for success, in other words recognize people. When that doesn’t happen and people if you’ve been on the receiving end of that, you know who you all are out there in radio land. If you’ve been on the receiving end of you prorate share of the blame for failure, I mean it may be a fact that something didn’t go well, but that’s not leadership, that’s just passing the buck, right?
Steven: Well Lincoln would think so.
I think it’s important that we understand that you know Lincoln stood for. You always want to persuade people rather than coerce. Now you may think that’s the same thing, but it really isn’t. Persuasion is bringing somebody around to your side of viewing something through logic and maybe some rhetorical use of words. You’re really to communicate and persuade in a very genuine sort of way.
Coercion is you’re simply trying to get somebody to do something you want them to do whether it makes a great deal of sense or not. In Lincoln’s case it was he wanted to be genuine and he wanted to persuade. He wanted people to feel that when they adopted his argument. It was a good argument, or it was a good idea and it was a sound idea. There was nothing false about it.
Lee: Interesting so what he was doing was being intellectually honest and there’s a leadership lesson in that regard. One of the things I’ve always admired about Lincoln was his ability to be decisive.
He didn’t sugar coat anything. He made some tough decisions. In your mind what are the toughest decisions that rose to the top that he was decisive about?
Steven: Well first he had to figure out what to with the you know Fort Sumter at the beginning of the war because the south was threatening that if you did anything with it at all they were going to view him as having started the Civil War so there was the quandary of what to do with Fort Sumter and he made a decision to supply it, not fortify it. Emancipation proclamation was very controversial when it came out. Most of his cabinet was not for it as were most of the north yet Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation justifying it as a war measure so that he wouldn’t lose support of the people who were willing to win the war not necessarily to make it a fight for freedom. It’s rights for the blacks and his lobbying for the 13th amendment, which is of course the amendment that abolished slavery forever in the United States.
He was a very strong behind the scenes proponent of getting that amendment passed regardless of what it took and who he had to talk to which of course was the subject of the Steven Spielberg film Lincoln starring Daniel Day-Lewis so you know you look at those three pieces of—two pieces of legislation and one major decision, great deal of responsibility can make those decisions and yet once made standby them.
Lee: Interesting so the lesson the leadership lesson that people can takeaway is what I hear is saying is talking about roles, responsibilities, and expectations. If I need to find a person to do a job, I want them in the right role. I want to you know delineate their responsibilities and let them know absolutely, there’s an expectation to perform and if that doesn’t happen, I can manage them up or I can manage them out. Unfortunately for Lincoln, he had an opportunity to do that with several of his military commanders. He really didn’t have the people on his team to accomplish what he was going to do until well into his tenure and even then, it was a thrill ride for him.
Steven: Well there were so much infighting with that cabinet at the beginning. He had brought in all the people that actually politically were against him, including people that he ran against for the Presidency in 1860. He surrounded himself what he thought were not only the best mind, the best politicians, the best people that can get the job done. The problem was he also made the table surrounded with egos and all the infighting that comes with that and he had to navigate through that and try to pacify this tension on a cabinet of his own making.
You know that’s not an easy task and instead reach a crisis in 1862 and he had to navigate through even a cabinet crisis if you can imagine. You know it’s something that Lincoln again was able to successfully do because he treated people as he thought you know they would—he would want to be treated and he respected them even though they caused trouble, he respected their intelligence and he respected their work ethic.
Lee: Amazing when you think about the egos in politics then or now, I mean that would just be a daunting task for anybody and one of the things that Lincoln always struck me is he had courage and you know the things that are alleged about people, you know they’re just, unjust, fair, unfair, true, untrue, whatever the case may be. He had the courage to handle some of that unjust criticism. Can you just imagine if we had the Internet, if we had social media the things that would be flying around right now about you know the tweets that would be flying around about Abraham Lincoln. This guy wants to do what? What were your thoughts about Lincoln’s ability to handle that unjust criticism?
Steven: Well he did handle it. There was a lot of it. I mean he received it from his own party. He received from leaders of the south.
He received it from the public. He even it—you know it became so nasty at one point that they would you know point out his lack of table manners or clothes that he was wearing or the way his hair looked at a function. I mean it was brutal and Lincoln seems to have taken it with a great deal of grace. We never see any evidence that he ever lashed out or even felt compelled to answer any of that criticism. You know Lee as Lincoln would say even after you’ve you know created the right argument, even after you’ve done all the right things, you’ve treated people as equals, you’ve you know you’ve—Lincoln said, “There’s always a few fleas the dog can’t reach.”
Lee: Say that again, “There’s always a few fleas that the dog can’t”
Steven: “There’s always a few fleas a dog can’t reach.”
Lee: Well we’ve been having an excellent discussion with Rogstad here today about lessons in leadership from Lincoln. Steve we’re going to share just a couple more and then we’re going to get to wrap today’s show. I want to let people know how to get in touch with you at the end so be thinking about that. Of course, the biggest that I’ll say that’s a takeaway from Lincoln is we’ve talked about these being centered problems, right? We said that right from the get go. He had outstanding character. I’m going to say the art of communication. He was a masterful public speaker and he influenced people through those conversations in storytelling. What are your thoughts about Lincoln, the master public speaker and then we’ll get ready to wrap and summarize.
Steven: Well you know you must realize that most of speeches we associate with Lincoln were ceremonial speeches, the first inaugural, the second inaugural in the Gettysburg address. Those were ceremonial speeches that Lincoln took weeks and weeks and weeks to labor on and construct. We certainly wouldn’t want Lincoln today being followed with cellular phones and all sorts of things with the way Lincoln would talk to people in conversations for the same reason that he was not a very good extemporaneous speaker.
He wouldn’t probably be getting up today and tweeting and these things are just saying things off the cuff. Everything that he spoke, he had written. He had to construct his argument, construct his logic. He didn’t want to be accused of misrepresenting an issue. He didn’t want to be on both side of an issue. He didn’t want to look like he didn’t understand and issue so for Lincoln it was all about having the integrity of being the communicator. You had to understand what you were talking about and the only way you could do that is to formulate your arguments in advance, so you understood him, and you could speak them.
Lee: Interesting, Steve we’re getting ready to wrap up. I just wanted to give people real quick how do they reach you if they want to get in touch with you.
Steven: Well I’d love to hear from your audience. You can reach me on my telephone at 262-412-2511 and my email address is simply name, StevenRogstad@Yahoo.com.
Lee: Excellent well it’s—you’ve been listening to Illuminating Leadership. This is Lee Hubert sitting in for Jeff Smith. It’s been a great conversation. Thank you for being with us again and we look forward to having you join us again on the next Voltcast Illuminating Leadership. Take care guys.
Steven: Thank you Lee, I really had a great time.
Lee: Thanks Steve.