January 17; Find A Friend; Assemble A Team
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


17 January

For lack of guidance a nation falls,

but victory is won through many advisers.

Proverbs 11:14

Find A Friend; Assemble A Team

Statue Limitations

“There are no statues of committees,” goes the cliché. We honor the leader as an individual and look to her example on making Big Things happen.

Time magazine celebrates the Person of the Year—but teams? Not so much. From The Lone Ranger to George Washington; from Abraham Lincoln to Batman, we venerate the Great Man on a pedestal.

The leader as an individual deserves the recognition (having had to withstand the refuse of small-minded critics before death — and of pigeons after).

But is this how work gets done?

I train young leaders on how to get tasks accomplished. They each come to me with a singular belief that the manager is The Man In Charge; a g.o.d. (Giver Of Directions). A real boss who directs the every move of every team member.

Isn’t this the ‘lead’ part of the management definition – plan, organize, lead and control? The Big Boss is supposed to have all of the answers, right?

Because the manager sees only that one person as a statue in a park he feels that the leader was alone in getting the job done. And so he reasons that he too must be the hard-charging commander barking out orders like the general on his steed.

This is, of course, a myth.

No boss operates by himself. The leader must have a support system, both inside and outside her organization. The fighter in the ring must have a coach in her corner and a team at ring-side. Tonto for the Lone Ranger; Lafayette for George Washington; Robin for Batman and The Team of Rivals for Lincoln.

This team, as biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin writes in her book, was the president’s cabinet, his closest advisors.

Goodwin writes that Lincoln,

[A]fter winning the presidency, made the unprecedented decision to incorporate his eminent rivals into his political family, the cabinet, was evidence of a profound self-confidence and a first indication of what would prove to others a most unexpected greatness.

Seward became secretary of state, Chase secretary of the treasury, and Bates attorney general. The remaining top posts Lincoln offered to three former Democrats…Gideon Welles, Lincoln’s “Neptune,” was made secretary of the navy, Montgomery Blair became postmaster general, and Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln’s “Mars,” eventually became secretary of war.

Every member of this administration was better known, better educated, and more experienced in public life than Lincoln. (Goodwin 2005).

Lincoln was able to win the Civil War through his team, his cabinet. The 16th president of the USA demonstrated leadership in his ability

[T]o assume responsibility for the failures of subordinates; to share credit with ease; and to learn from mistakes. He possessed an acute understanding of the sources of power inherent in the presidency, an unparalleled ability to keep his governing coalition intact… (Goodwin 2005).

The first suggestion to leaders in any position would be to assemble a personal board of advisers following the admonition found in Proverbs 11:14, For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.

Leadership is a glowing ember that will quickly burn out if pulled from the fire. Unless that ember is surrounded by others it will quickly die. There is no heat in isolation.


Goodwin, Doris Kearns (2005-10-25). Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln . Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

The #AlertStudent knows that there are statues of teams, if not committees. See Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais, modeled 1884–95.


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