Small Moments in Leadership

August 25, 2009

An unusual tribute was paid to Abraham Lincoln by Carl Sandburg. The poet wrote, “Not often in the story of mankind does a man arrive on earth who is both steel and velvet, who is as hard as rock and soft as drifting fog, who holds in his heart and mind the paradox of terrible storm and peace unspeakable and perfect.”

Lincoln demonstrated then and now how a person can possess both a will of iron and a heart of tenderness. Nothing deterred the president during the American Civil War from his “noble” cause, and few persons have ever endured more criticism and detractors than Lincoln. Yet he was no more a man of steel than one of velvet.

When General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army, Lincoln sent an unexpected message to the enemy commander. “Tell your men they may keep their horses; they’ll need them for plowing,” said the president. Then this: “Tell your men they may keep their rifles; they’ll need them for hunting.” When Lee read those words he wept.

This is why Lincoln was a statesman. He was not a mere politician.

What’s the difference you may ask?

A cheap and mere politician thinks, plots, manipulate for the next election. But the noble statesman thinks, plans and prepares for the next generation.

This is what leaders need to understand.

When a leader takes the time to impact people in even the smallest way, it can have repercussions that last for a lifetime for after all leadership is never about positions, it is all about influence.

This magnifying or multiplying effect has a lot of power in it. It can do great good or great damage.

You may be thinking, “But I am not in any government position…”  “I am just a secretary fixing files for my boss…” This does not mean that you do not influence others. You impact people in positive ways with your words, actions, inactions, attitudes, language, demeanor, vocal tone, examples, and many other ways. Whether you like it or not all of us are inter-connected in ways beyond our understanding. An influential leader who takes personal time out of their busy schedule to help an undeserving person in need can cause a big positive multiplying effect over time.

Now here is the downside of leadership. The same model also works when a leader does something in a negative manner that ends up having long lasting negative repercussions that can be hard to shake.

Losing one’s temper, a harsh word spoken. An insulting remark. Just imagine how all of these can stick in one’s head after its first stinging bite. It can do a lot of damage and have very negative repercussions.

Can you think of some small examples of leadership that you have set that really impacted people for the positive? Continue with it and you will be amazed at how one small act leads to a greater one as people put their trust in you.

Can you think of some small negative things you’ve done that have caused unintended damage? Stop doing it and replace it with a better act of positive impact that can make a difference in a person’s life.

I have a better idea. Lead by serving and be amazed how far this can take you towards the path of nobility and joy.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Cornel

    Thank you! Your articles / blogs always have golden nuggets.

  2. Roland Abuan

    Thanks bro, leaders are living dictionaries

    with lots of personal definitions to share…

    Thanks+Best regards

  3. Micah

    Thank You for this articles… it made me feel that I can do more in my office. Truly, you have been blessed by God…Continue to inspire others people.

  4. Rowena D.Soriano

    Thanks, I think I should know evaluate my actions now

  5. Karen Israel

    If one would do the same thing to me, I will also be touched as what General Robert E. Lee felt. He was such a great leader worthy of thousands of praises and even millions. He has done a small act that have meant a lot to the officer and to his men.

    Thank you for posting this article, Mr. Kong! Another great story to share and reflect upon.

    How much would I want to own one of your books. I’ve never had one but I’ll do my very best to save my allowance and buy one or even two if it will be enough. I would want to see you in person soon when you will visit Davao or conduct a seminar here.

    I’m still 16 and I believe that my future would be great by God’s grace. It is already written by One hand…MAKTUB. I believe that you could influence me greatly by your incalculable wisdom. Help me to become another Francis Kong someday and even today.

    Thank you Mr. Kong! To God be the glory.

    -Karen Loreto Israel
    Davao City

  6. Earl Yanez

    inspiring and moving!

  7. Ira Nadine

    This is so true leaders are not meant for a position to be served but rather they are there to be servants in little ways that they can in order to make a big difference.

    I also have personal experience of becoming a leader and how I become so scared and laid back about it. As I remember, the moment I think I have been all the way there I found myself lying on the floor confused and irascible, without any friend to give me a hug or to listen to what I feel. It is somehow frustrating and depressing but I have promised myself that I have changes to make on somethings about me, from my attitude up to how I view life and to sharing it to others.

    Sometimes you’ll have to fall as many times as you can by not being prepared or by anticipating too much for it. LEADER-SHIP: The ship of a leader will not move on its way to the big sea without people who will be of great help and of not. A leader needs to have a sense of balance and control of this elements, that sometimes will be too demanding or too pleasing for a leader. As a leader you need to be in control of your life but not manipulative of others.

  8. Jayson Biadog

    Everyman must inspire and act like this..whatever status you have from ordinary people to whatever specialty you may have…

  9. leonel

    indeed as as leader you must be after the service not after the power and position
    for the love of power leads you to your own downfall and destruction…
    as the song says” may all who come behind us find us faithful and may the power of our devotion light their way” let it be may it be on our deeds in fulfilling our obligations as individuals…

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