Lincoln on Leadership – by Donald Phillips

Looks at the management style of 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. Breaks it down into basic practices that any leader today can use. Designed for managers of companies, the advice from the book can also be used by anyone who has to “manage” their online followers, subscribers, and customers. Easily could have been written “Leadership Practices for the Digital Age.”

Practice 1: Circulate among the people you are leading

Get to know your (potential) followers.  Join the forums they are at.  Visit the sites they visit.  Check out the products they buy.  Research the questions they have.

Practice 2: Build strong alliances

Get powerful people to be your allies.  Don’t make enemies with any commenters or critics. Don’t openly disagree with other bloggers. Connect with other bloggers, writers, artists, entrepreneurs in the same field as you. Follow them on their social media.  Make comments on their posts or updates.  Make friends with everyone.

Practice 3: Request and recommend as much as possible – use force as a last option

Don’t tell people what to do.  Instead, suggest what they should or could do. Show them what’s possible. Show them what could happen if they go a certain route.

Practice 4: Give credit to your followers and take blame for yourself

Your followers get the spoils. You get the accountability.  If your followers or subscribers didn’t understand a certain instruction you had, tell them it was because you were unclear. Apologize when things go wrong. Make it a point to apologize to your customers.

If they buy a product from you, leave a comment on your wall, give you any kind of suggestion – thank and praise them emphatically. Make it seem like they have made your day. Mention in your posts: “Thank you ‘x’ person for the suggestion do this.”

Practice 5: Allow followers to fail and learn

Encourage improvement, but don’t discourage failing.

Practice 6: Focus on conversation and storytelling to influence people

Use stories and metaphors to communicate your point. (See Indirect Influence Technique 7 in The Power of Indirect Influence by Judith Tingley.)

Practice 7: Set a vision and continually preach it.

Hugely important.  Your blog, your website, your personal “brand,” should represent something very clear to your followers, subscribers, customers.  You should know what values you represent and you should make sure every post, every update, every product or service you show reflects those values.

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