Michael Hyatt, Founder and CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company

Sometimes you learn from positive role models. Often you learn from negative ones. This is one of the reasons I love to read history—you invariably see both.

Unfortunately, Lincoln’s leadership was not perfect. He occasionally selected men for public service who were unworthy of his trust. One such individual was Gen. George B. McClellan, commander of the Army of the Potomac and, eventually, first general-in-chief of the Union Army.

McClellan had significant character flaws that can serve as warning signs to anyone in leadership. Ultimately, these cost him dearly: He lost Lincoln’s confidence, his job, and a run for the White House (against Lincoln). Worse, his missteps prolonged the Civil War and cost the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

I want to share five flaws I noted in McClellan as I read Goodwin’s book. These characteristics practically define what it means to be a weak leader. And the list doubles as a convenient self-evaluation tool if you want to avoid becoming one.

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