Robin Kessler - Competency Speaker and HR Consultant

President’s Day

In Uncategorized on February 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Have you ever thought about what George Washington and Abraham Lincoln would say about the decision for Americans to stop celebrating their birthdays independently and have one holiday for both called President’s Day?

One of my favorite nonfiction books that I’ve read in the last year is Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The book is about Lincoln’s cabinet, which he put together by selecting his major rivals for the presidency and some other very strong willed, experienced people.

Lincoln was incredibly good at getting the best out of some very talented but sometimes tempermental people. When I read the book, I had the feeling that Lincoln was probably one of the most emotionally intelligent presidents we’ve had in the U.S.

So, after reading about Lincoln’s level of maturity, I’m not convinced that he’d object that much to the change from the Lincoln’s Birthday holiday to President’s Day. Remember that he had to lead the country through the Civil War, which was an incredibly difficult time. More Americans died in the Civil War than in all the other wars the United States has participated in…combined.

Think about the competencies he needed to be so successful, like interpersonal skills and organizational awareness. His interpersonal skills included a good sense of humor and an interesting way of thinking and putting together his words. Lincoln said, for example, “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

Lincoln might even be able to reframe the question about the holiday so that he recognized the honor of sharing the day with George Washington, despite the story about the cherry tree not being exactly true.

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