Level 5 Leadership – By Rev. Jeff Gannon
As I shared on Sunday, Abraham Lincoln will, more than likely, go down in history as the greatest President of our Country. He is the quintessential example of a Level 5 leader – resolute will and extreme humility.
Some interesting facts about Lincoln which demonstrate the “acts” of a level 5 leader.
Lincoln had less than one year of education in a formal sense at what were then called blab schools because all the students would be in one room, and they would just blab their lessons simultaneously. He served only one term in Congress. When he was asked to describe his education for a Congressional dictionary and he thought about all of his colleagues who went to places like Harvard or Yale, he wrote as a description of his education a single word: deficient.
Yet he is routinely listed by historians and by public surveys as the greatest President in U.S. History, and 22 counties and 35 cities are named for him. By 1939, one Lincoln scholar counted 3,958 books had been written about him. Today he is the second-most written-about person in the history of the human race. (Second only to Jesus Christ).
By his own account, when he was 8 years old, he took his dad’s gun, and he shot a turkey. He was so devastated when he saw that bird lying there, he never hunted again – very rare in that frontier society.
When he was a lawyer, one time he was all dressed up crossing a prairie. It was really muddy, and he saw a hog stuck really deeply in the mud. He resolved to keep going so he wouldn’t ruin his suit for court. He wrote later that he kept thinking about how that pig seemed to look at him as if to say, “There goes my last chance.” So he turned around and went back and ruined his suit getting that pig up out of the mud.
Lincoln is worth studying, among other things, as a remarkable test case in character formation, and one of his most remarkable characteristics is his deep humility. President of the United States yet amazingly humble. Deeply humble about his origins, about his lack of education, about his lack of polish, about his physical appearance. He was famous for his gangly body and very often ill-fitting and disheveled clothes and what was regarded as a remarkably homely face. In his debates with Stephen Douglas, Douglas once charged Lincoln with being two-faced. Lincoln said, “If I had another face, do you think I’d wear this one?” More to come next week…..