Learning from Presidents’ Day

Today, the United States celebrates Presidents’ Day. In Washington
state, we observe it as a celebration of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln’s
birthdays. You might ask, “What does this have to do with knowing, owning, and
building on strengths in my organization?”

First off, without these men, we wouldn’t have the free economy
to build our businesses, pursue our dreams, or enjoy the diversity we encourage
in our organizations and communities. Second, we can learn from the strengths
of these men, as well as those who followed them and other leaders, to
determine how our strengths mirror theirs or how we can find those whose
strengths mirror theirs to complement our strengths and build our organizations.

Did you know that George Washington was made a leading
general because he had failed so many times that him failing again would give the
other founding fathers a scapegoat? Instead, he rose to the occasion and has become
recognized as a great leader. He then became the first president of the country
he helped to liberate from British rule.

Many people know about Lincoln rising from failure to success. He was born to functionally illiterate parents, learned lost his mother at nine, learned from his stepmother to love reading, received little formal education, enjoyed life as an autodidact, and then became an effective attorney and president of the United States.

To me, one of the most interesting events in Lincoln’s life was
his law partnership with William H. Herndon who was 10 years younger than
Lincoln and appeared to be his polar opposite. Their partnership has been
described as “nearly perfect as such human arrangements ever are.” This
partnership demonstrates the benefits the value of working with people whose
strengths complement your own instead of duplicating them.

I focus today on the challenges of these two men because of
their demonstration of persistence, complementary strengths, and rise to
historical greatness. Doubtless, neither of them expected to be revered in history
when they had hard times, yet we, as leaders and members of teams, can continue
to learn from their examples.

Consider today all the leaders you have known. Consider the leader you have been, the leader you are, and the leader you want to be. How can you recognize the strengths and lessons from these men? How can you incorporate the strengths of others you admire? How can you engage the strengths of others who do things differently from you? How will you be remembered in history? What legacy will you, your team, and your organization create?

I’d love to hear your experiences and other comments.

Dr. Catherine

About the author

Leaders hire Dr. Catherine to increase employee retention AND company profits because most are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars on resignations, recruitment, and training, so she helps them capitalize onboarding, productivity, and profits through powerful engagement and alternative solutions for team success.

Bottom line: Revenue is based on human capital and the power of alignment.

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