Imagine you had to lead a team through a major time of transition and there was a strong and competent man who was the biggest nay-sayer in your midst.
Do you take him on and debate with him? Do you ignore him and pretend he doesn’t exist? Do you get others to form a cheerleading squad around you and drown him out?
Not if your name is Abraham Lincoln. You take a deep breath and as the saying goes; keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Just imagine the confidence and strong beliefs in what you are doing to take on a rival such as William Henry Seward was and bring him into your inner circle. Lincoln was a master at relationships. He knew clearly that the very worst thing you can do with “enemies” is to ignore them.
What we learn from Lincoln is that it takes discipline and a larger vision than playing “the gotcha game” even though it can be done with great flare. He was able, as Doris Kearns Goodwin shows in her masterpiece “Team of Rivals” to form friendships with those who had opposed him. He was able to go beyond petty hostilities and put salve on post injuries, his own and others, to create coalitions that were for the good of the country.
He was able to find common ground, and be a model of resisting and going past, what I call JUBLA (JUdgment, BLame and Attack).
He had a valid way of handling anger that is as fresh today as it was in the past. He would write a letter to the person he was upset with and then put it aside or throw it away. He would express his anger but not dwell on it.
Think about who is in your team of rivals (we all have some in our midst) and stand tall like the most revered president this country has ever had. Great lesson this President’s holiday weekend.