The Lincoln Principal
Abraham Lincoln was perhaps our greatest president. He was a man of integrity, morals, conviction, and ethics. He was also known to have a temper. During the Civil War, he would demonstrate great anger and disappointment with people in his administration and with many military leaders. He would sit down at night regularly and compose letters that criticized people for what they did. These letters were not pleasant to read. After a letter was complete, he would take it and put it in his desk drawer to be mailed the next morning.
At the end of the War, his drawer was filled with these letters, not one of them ever mailed.
Too often the only time we address someone is when things go wrong. While we cannot ignore mistakes, we need a balance. It’s far better to catch people doing things right and to give praise. Also, in the heat of the moment when things go wrong, our judgment is clouded and we tend to lash out and say things we often regret afterward. The person on the receiving end will often shut down too, and nothing will get accomplished.
When things go wrong, pause and assess the situation. Hold your anger, then put it away as Lincoln did. After you calm down, you will be in a much better frame of mind to deal with the issue.
This article was contributed by Joe Marconi. Joe is one of the top shop owners in America, a columnist for Ratchet & Wrench, the founder of autoshopowner.com and a coach that helps other shop owners reach their goals through the Elite Coaching Program.