Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Effective leaders are effective people and leadership can be defined as one’s ability to get others to willingly follow. On the 12th of February, we celebrated the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. As our 16th president, he is the standard bearer of the wise, eloquent leader.

A high standard of personal ethics leads the list of qualities for leadership. Before becoming a lawyer and politician, Lincoln had worked as a storekeeper and walked miles to return a customer’s change. This act gave us his nickname of “Honest Abe” and is a classic example of how personal ethics are reflected in professional conduct. However, as president, it took time for Lincoln to grow into his role as revealed in this fascinating e-book by Richard J. Tofel released on February 11, 2011 by MacMillian – Eight Weeks in Washington, 1861: Abraham Lincoln and the Hazards of Transition
A consistent quality among effective leaders is courage, and Lincoln developed into an inspirational leader with the courage to make tough decisions and help shape our country.
I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent. ~ George Washington

George Washington was an effective and inspiring leader whose birthday is celebrated annually on February 22nd and as our first president, is known as the father of our country. The man whose picture is on the dollar bill epitomized the power a steadfast, dedicated leader has who believes in the people he leads. Washington was a visionary who drew on the strengths of those around him and encouraged them to fulfill their potential. Dynamic leaders most often lead by example, and the desire to help others succeed is the mark of a truly great leader. Washington was a successful mediator of conflict which was a component of his leadership style. His awareness of human behavior enhanced his effectiveness at personal diplomacy and his integrity, strong character, and moral courage inspired trust. Read more about his leadership skills in George Washington’s Leadership Lessons: What the Father of Our Country Can Teach Us About Effective Leadership and Character by authors James Rees with Stephen Spignesi.

Former president and general, Dwight David Eisenhower said “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Long-term commitment to the principles of leadership is an art form which these presidents practiced knowingly and well. We can use their actions as our own guide on the path to living well.