This issue of SUCCESS is dedicated to that all-important expertise: leadership. In the pages that follow, we will offer you instruction for, insights on and examples of great leadership you can use to refine your own ability to lead--Yourself and others. I have observed that one of the most overlooked but important qualities of great leadership is one's courage and willingness to do what is unpopular.
Unarguably, one of the greatest leaders in history, at the time of his leadership, continually suffered vehement opposition and may have been one of the most unpopular people ever to serve in his position. His name is Abraham Lincoln, consistently ranked by scholars as one of the greatest of all U.S. presidents.
Because Lincoln's viewpoints were so different from that of many other government officials, he faced constant antagonism. Famously, as a congressman, he took a very unpopular stand against President James K. Polk regarding the Mexican War, saying the war was unjust.
The Great Abe lost elections for several different political offices before finally being elected president by one of the lowest popular margins in history. He was regularly ridiculed and viciously attacked by the press, Right before the 1864 election, a newspaper editor in La Crosse, Wis., actually suggested someone be Brutus and stab Lincoln. Lincoln was, of course, unpopular with Democrats, but for much of his administration, he was also unpopular with some members of his own party; even his Cabinet, composed of men he had beaten out for the Republican nomination, often confronted him.
Yet, because he was willing to do what was unpopular, taking...