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Leaders think independently

Despite surrounding himself with the best and brightest (and most egocentric), Lincoln was the master of his presidency, guided by his own logic and decisions. It was clear that he was the boss and they were subordinate.

“It was always plain that he was the master and they were the subordinates. They constantly had to yield to his will, and if he ever yielded to them it was because they convinced him that the course they advised was judicious and appropriate.” - Charles Dana

Although he was a strong, confident leader, Lincoln was able to change his mind when fairly convinced that he was wrong. At the start of the war he deferred to General McClellen because he thought the General was the expert, knew what he was doing, and deserved unquestioned trust. He was convinced by Bates that he was, in fact, supposed to “command the commanders” and that he should “assume to be in fact, what he is in law.” Sufficiently motivated, he began to learn the art of war, and began to take a more active role in directing the movements of the war.