By Jeff Haden via inc.com Article
This 150 year-old Letter Shows Exactly How Exceptional Bosses Make Their Employees Feel
“In late 1864 Union General William T. Sherman marched into Atlanta, crippling the southern war economy. The practical effect was massive but so was the psychological impact, and not just on southerners: Abraham Lincoln would ride the resulting wave of public confidence into his second term as President.
As Ron Chernow describes in the excellent biography Grant, this is how General Grant congratulated Sherman:
‘You have accomplished the most gigantic undertaking given to any General in this War and with a skill and ability that will be acknowledged in history as unsurpassed if not un-equalled. It gives me as much pleasure to record this in your favor as it would in favor of any living man, myself included.’
Keep in mind Grant could have hogged at least some of the credit. After all, he was Sherman’s boss, he developed the overall blueprint for Sherman’s campaign — and he kept the Army of Northern Virginia pinned down in Richmond and Petersburg, making it impossible for Lee to send reinforcements to Georgia.
But he didn’t — because great leaders always shine the spotlight on others.
In response, Sherman said:
‘I have always felt that you personally take more pleasure in my success than in your own, and I appreciate the feeling to its fullest extent.’
That’s what great leaders do. They make the people they lead feel like they, not the boss, are the most important people. Great leaders aren’t served; great leaders serve.”