Tag Archives: Abraham Lincoln

Leaders Saddle Up for the Long Haul

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you wear both your manager and leader hats more productively. Reading time: 2:34

              Leaders are developed. Through Time. Managers are appointed. For a Time.

             horsesPresident Abraham Lincoln appreciated the critical importance of sauteing leadership over time in a well-oiled, hot pan of situations, conditions and opportunities.

           In fact, Lincoln clarified the Time difference required to prepare leaders vs. managers in the following story that caught his Secretary of War by surprise.

          During the Civil War, the Confederates captured a Union brigadier general and more than 100 valuable horses. The Secretary of War notified President Lincoln of the loss. The president responded that he mourned the loss of the 100 horses more than the capture of the brigadier general.

           The astonished Secretary of War nearly fell off his chair. Something didn’t add up. Continue reading

What You Think You Are

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance your self-confidence. Reading time: 3:43

      The rookie baseball player wound himself into a tight ball of tension. He could hardly swing his bat.

      Baseball: Academy battles UNLV, falls 20-13His manager intervened: “If you want to become a great hitter you have to relax. Smile. Be happy like Jim over there.”

      The rookie looked towards his teammate and winced. Angrily, he snapped: “Go on. Jim ain’t happy. He only thinks he is.”


      Leaders know what they THINK, they are.  Or as Abraham Lincoln noted: “A man can be as happy as he makes up his mind to be. “

      That’s what leaders do. They make up their minds.  They reframe their situation. Continue reading

Keeping Your Oars In the Water

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to stay focused on increased performance. Reading time: 2:37.

        You won. But you’re not done. Not yet. Leaders don’t take time to rest— no matter how good the profit margin; no matter how prolific the units sales, no matter how pre-emptive the new product launch. There’s just TOO MUCH left to do.  Going forward.

       EDITED OAR  At least that’s the assessment of Lee Iacocca who led Chrysler from the brink of bankruptcy.  “Never rest on your oars as a boss, if you do, the whole company starts sinking.”

        The most effective leaders intuitively know they need to continuously improve.  Consistently  perform. Persistently progress.  After all:

  • Karate practitioners, the day after their black belt exam, are expected to be on the mat the next day practicing, improving  and improvising.
  • Artist Grandma Moses would finish a painting and then 10 days later study it to see where she could improve and improvise.
  • Author James Michener was asked to name his favorite book among the more than 35 he had authored. Michener said:  “My preference is always the next book” where he could improve and improvise.

    Abraham Lincoln always kept his oar in the water even when it seemed his boat was sinking. The president quickly paddled his way out of his situation, no matter how devastating the defeat or how exhausting the effort or how hopeless the condition. Keep rowing. Continue reading

Word to the Wise: Sesquipedalophobiacs Welcome

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to clarify your meaning and enhance your authority. Reading time: 3:14

         The sesquipedalophobiacs are coming! The sesquipedalophobiacs are coming! Hail to the sesquipedalophobiacs. Also known by its 15-syllable cousin hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia.

The Wizard of Oz gave up on using big words.

          Still trying to spit out that mouthful? No wonder leaders strive for clarity. They hate big words. They even have a name for the  fear of long words: sesquipedalophobia.

        (Hey, there’s a long word for everything, even a long word for the fear of long words.)

       Leaders seek clarity and embrace the biblical reference (Ecclesiastes 6:11) when Solomon observed: “The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?”

      They agree with President Dwight Eisenhower’s observation that “an intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.”

        And these haters of long words –sesquipedalophobiacs — acknowledge Thomas Jefferson’s point that “the most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” Continue reading

Public Speakers: Flash your Lt. Columbo Badge of Confusion

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you more fully connect with an audience and become even more persuasive.

       Oh yeah. I was prepared. Too prepared. Too sure of myself. Too proud. Too confident. Too bad.

Lt. Columbo in his iconic rumpled trench coat

      It was my first public speaking gig outside my company to a general audience (not my staff). And I made a big mistake. I thought the podium gave me a virtual license to act more like a preacher, more like a lecturer. After all, I was the expert. That’s why they invited me.

     My mistake. I later realized that I should have acted more like Lt. Columbo than Sgt. Joe Friday at the podium. I should have acted more like the disheveled and somewhat confused Lt. Columbo , the detective that actor Peter Falk made famous in the television series Columbo, rather than the stern, button downed, highly disciplined, no-nonsense, just-the-facts-man Sgt. Friday, the detective that Jack Webb made famous in the television series Dragnet.

      I gave this audience just the facts. I was self-assured. I called it confidence. Others I later learned called it cockiness. Anyway I realized only later what that bromide really means that says: No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

      And no one likes a know-it-all. At least not initially. Behavioral research shows that an audience is likely to be persuaded more by someone they can identify with, someone who seems just like them, someone like Lt. Columbo  who personably camouflaged his professional prowess like a proverbial Ferrari engine hidden beneath the beaten and battered hood of the jalopy he drove. Lt. Columbo hid his  criminal investigative expertise beneath the rumpled trench coat he wore; behind the squint of confusion on his face, and deep within the halting hesitancy in his voice. Continue reading