[April 09, 2015] On this date in 1865, exactly 150 years ago and largely unnoticed today, the Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant; thus ended the bloodiest point in the history of the United States. General Grant was now to play a crucial role in the difficult task of healing the wounds of the American Civil War.
General Grant’s leadership was needed more than ever after Lee’s surrender and into the next several years as the civil war destroyed more than people’s lives; it destroyed trust and goodwill across the nation. On April 9, 1865 at the little hamlet of Appomattox Court House in northern Virginia, Grant put his keen leadership on display by offering Lee reasonable terms of surrender. General Grant told his officers, “The war is over. The Rebels are our countrymen again.”
“I appreciate the fact, and am proud of it, that the attentions I am receiving are intended more for our country than for me personally.” – General Ulysses S. Grant
Some of the key leader characteristics of Ulysses S. Grant are:
- Strategic genius
- Sense of urgency, willingness to take risks, and dogged determination
- Highly developed sense of duty and a deep commitment to the United States and Constitution
- Sensitive to what others thought of him
- Fear of Failure (by his own admission)
- Humble and opposed to self-promotion or fame
- Understanding of the psychology of men, especially those in combat
In the pages of this theLeaderMaker.com blog, I have attempted to lay out the most common of characteristics found in great leaders such as General Grant. What we see here are timeless traits that translate not just across time but also across occupations and nations. Grant embraced these traits and turned them into a success wherever he went.
To illustrate that the traits are universal, Grant was later elected as the 18th U.S. president of the United States in 1868 and re-elected in 1872.1
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