Use your strength of conviction to guide your team

Abraham Lincoln is remembered as one of our greatest presidents for his ability to lead the U.S. through the Civil War and emerge from the conflict as one nation. Again and again during his presidency, he faced moments when it would have been easy to give up and simply accept that the Union could not be preserved.

But he never lost hope. His faithful leadership allowed the U.S. to emerge as an industrialized nation in the late 19th century. Without Lincoln, the world would be a much different place today.

As business leaders, the challenges we face are much less dire than those encountered by Lincoln. The fate of the world is not at stake, but the future of your company often is.

Since 2008, many companies have been forced to adapt in order to remain competitive in their industries. The strongest businesses persevered and continued to provide a great product and a high level of service to their customers.

It wouldn’t be possible without a leader at the top who believed it could be done.

There is no one right way to be a leader. Some are more vocal and lead by being out in front, showing the way to success. Others prefer a quieter approach and tend to lead by example. These leaders set a tone of accountability that is more evident through actions rather than words.

Lincoln is generally thought of as a man whose quiet confidence served him well. When he spoke, people listened and gained strength from each word.

The key to being an effective leader isn’t the volume of your voice. It’s the belief that comes through in your voice when you speak. When you trust in yourself and your team and see the opportunity in every challenge, your team can feel that. They feed off of it and bring a higher sense of purpose to their work.

As your company faces obstacles and unexpected problems, your employees count on you to lead the way.

That doesn’t mean you gloss over tough situations and pretend like they don’t exist. You face them head-on and make it clear to your people that there is hope and a reason to believe. If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.

If there’s one thing that can be said about President-elect Donald J. Trump, it’s that he has conviction in his beliefs.

Many people scoffed at the idea that he could be elected president, but in January he’ll take the oath of office and become our nation’s 45th president. Trump had a message that resonated with people throughout his campaign and he convinced his followers that if elected, he could do the job.

As Americans, we can only hope that he can turn that determination into a stronger nation for us all.

Fred Koury is president and CEO at Smart Business Network