There is much to be said about the new movie “Lincoln” by Steven Spielberg. The casting, the performance, the costuming — stunning. What the critics have yet to review is the powerful demonstration of what leadership can do.

This movie reminds me of the quote by W.H. Murray on commitment and risk: “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision which no one could have dreamed would have come their way.”

I was moved by the movie in a way that the others I went with were not. For me, it wasn’t just about how mesmerizing Daniel Day-Lewis is in it (which he is). It was Lincoln’s uncanny ability to lead that passed the 13th Amendment. (What follows is not at all about politics.) His leadership was grounded in:

Commitment above all: Beyond unwanted consequences, he had a vision that consumed him that he was determined to bring to fruition.

Decisiveness: Against all odds, never wavering.

Compassion: He thought more about what affected others than what affected him and his future.

Accessibility: People could reach him, talk to him through all societal strata.

Steadfastness: When people told him they couldn’t, he demanded of them that they could.

Trust: He trusted to a point but never completely turned his vision over to others. When it was time to step up to bat, he did not delegate.

Perseverance: Without knowing how Reconstruction would come about, he pushed forward. Not knowing “how” ahead of time was not a reason to stall. 

Wisdom: His vision was unpopular, risking commonly held — if erroneous — beliefs about “how things worked.” Lincoln did not leave it to anyone else in history to pick up the slack. He understood the time is always “now.”

Magnanimity: While a shrewd negotiator, he appealed to his opponents rather than tearing them down.

He was willing to lay down his life for what he believed (literally).

I was brought to tears by the courage and compassion of the depiction of this man and the idea of what one man or woman can do. 

The time is always now.