President Lincoln’s Skills as a Transformational Leader

First, I’d like to start with the definition of transformational leadership, which is: it serves to change the status quo by appealing to followers’ values and their sense of higher purpose. Transformational leaders engage with followers and create a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower (PSU, L. 10, page 3).

President Abraham Lincoln is known for a lot of positive moments throughout his presidency. But, how exactly was he able to get people on his side and accomplish these things? Lincoln’s leadership ability is mostly influenced by his character and the way he was able to lead. President Lincoln’s transformational leadership ability is very impressive. Evaluating Lincoln’s transformational skills, first he was able to acquire the trust, loyalty, and respect of followers. Second, he had the ability to inspire people to keep making sacrifices in spite of hardships. Lastly, the effectiveness of his appeal to followers’ ethical values in order to inspire them to “higher morality” (Leidner, 2012). These are the exact things that a transformational leader needs to show. Transformational leaders don’t just sit back and watch, they are engaged with their followers. Transformational leaders have a great relationship with their followers and actually genuinely care about the people they are in contact with. 
It was mentioned that Lincoln used to visit the Army of the Potomac frequently. There, he treated the men, regardless of rank, with courtesy and respect. The men began to call him “Father Abraham” because they were sure that he would do his best to take care of them (Leidner 2012).
Transformational leaders need to have several characteristics, such as:
  • Vision: transformational leaders are future-oriented.
  • Rhetorical Skills: transformational leaders are talented at sharing their visions.
  • Image and trust building: transformational leaders build trust in their followers through an image of self-confidence, moral conviction, personal example, and self-sacrifice.
  • Personalized Leadership: transformational leaders share strong, personal bonds with followers (Leidner, 2012).

Lincoln showed all of these traits very well. He knew how to motivate people and how to lead them in the right direction.

Leidner, R. (2012). Great American History. Lincoln The Transformational Leader. Retrieved on March 25, 2013 from
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2013). PSYCH 485 Lesson 10: Transformational Leadership. Retrieved on March 25, 2013 from

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar