A transformational leader creates a vision for others to follow. They have the ability to empower, motivate, and inspire others to reach goals. One well-known, a transformational leader is Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. His vision was a united country where every man is treated equally. During his presidency, he had overcome civil war and navigated the freedom of slaves. He faced immense opposition, but he also inspired loyalty. Lincoln transformed America by gaining the trust and respect of citizens and inspiring others to follow his lead.
Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky in 1809 to Nancy and Thomas Lincoln (McPherson, 2000). He had very little formal education when he was young because he had to work on the family farm. As an adult, he worked on a riverboat, as a shopkeeper, and took a postmaster position before entering local politics as a member of the Whig Party (McPherson, 2000). He was elected to the Illinois state legislature for several terms and became a Congressman because of his charismatic personality and ability to inspire others. During his time in office, he became a powerful voice for anti-slavery. His strong opposition to slavery and eloquent speeches helped him capture the loyalty of the nation.
Transformational leaders motivate and inspire followers (Northouse, 2010). President Lincoln displayed the characteristics of the transformational leader. One characteristic is individualized consideration. When President Lincoln became president in 1860, the country was divided over the topic of slavery (Ghasabeh & Provitera, 2017). The North wanted slavery abolished while Southern states exceeded the union instead of giving up their slaves. Lincoln declared war on the Southern states leading to the first and only Civil War in America. During this time, Lincoln motivated Northern troops to fight for the freedom of slaves and to reunite the country by making personal visits to the battlefield. The respect he showed soldiers in the field earned their trust and loyalty.
Another component of the transformational leader is inspirational motivation. Inspirational motivation involves creating a vision that inspires and motivates others to perform the actions needed to meet goals (Ghasabeh & Provitera, 2017). Lincoln empowered soldiers and citizens in the country to support his efforts to end slavery. He informed the public of his objectives and how they would be reached and encouraged their participation. The public was motivated to support Lincoln in his war against the South because of his conviction and strong sense of purpose.
Intellectual stimulation is another important characteristic of the transformational leader (Ghasabeh & Provitera, 2017). Lincoln displayed this characteristic when he gave speeches to encourage and engage the public and the Army to fight for change. He appealed to the public to see the immorality of enslaving human beings. President Lincoln was an agent of change. By bringing attention to the problem of slavery and providing innovative solutions, he gained the loyalty and support of the public. Without his efforts, slavery would have ended in a much different way.
President Abraham Lincoln was a transformational leader. The President’s legacy will live on in history. His achievements while in office forever changed the lives of African Americans and united the entire country into one great nation. During his time in office, he achieved his goal of abolishing slavery and preserving the union. Transformational leaders challenge the status quo and influence change. Lincoln displayed the characteristics of the transformational leader through his ability to inspire others to follow his vision and motivate them to action.
Ghasabeh, M. & Provitera, M. (2017). Transformational leadership: Building an effective cultureto manage organizational knowledge. The Journal of Value-based Leadership,10(2), 1-18
McPherson, J. (2000). Lincoln, Abraham. Philadelphia, PA: American National BiographyNorthouse P.G. (2010). Leadership: Theory and practice (8th ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage