This year President’s Day will be observed Monday, February 20, and although the holiday falls near the birthdays of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the official holiday was not designed to honor any specific President, but the office of the President itself. However, when it comes to leadership, it is hard to match the leadership qualities possessed by both Washington and Lincoln, as they led our country during extremely difficult periods in our country’s history.
George Washington, the Father of our Country and Commander in Chief of the United Colonies, was a leader and a visionary. It has been said that George Washington may not have possessed the greatest intelligence himself, but he knew when to rely on others. After formulating and communicating his vision (including both short- and long-range goals) people were ready to follow him because of his impeccable character, trustworthiness, and charisma. He was loyal, organized, and persistent. He had outstanding morals and character and he gave credit to those who deserved it. Most importantly, Washington knew how to learn from his mistakes. Of the nine battles in which he fought, he only won three, but by learning from his mistakes he prepared for the most important battle, the Battle of Yorktown. Washington teaches us many leadership lessons, and maybe most importantly, that it is through our defeats we learn to prepare for our future victories.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, led our country through the devastating American Civil War; a war that threatened to tear our country apart. Despite these challenges, Lincoln persevered because of his amazing array of leadership qualities. He was a powerful leader, sharing both the credit for things that went well, and the blame for things that didn’t. Lincoln also had a great sense of humor and he understood the importance of laughter, relaxing and having fun. Also, like Washington, Abraham Lincoln was an expert at sharing and communicating his vision so others might follow. Lincoln knew that a key element to building and communicating his vision was to surround himself with people of different beliefs and ideas. One of my favorite Lincoln quotes is “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”
It’s hard to pinpoint the combination of factors that went into making Washington and Lincoln the outstanding leaders they were, but scientific evidence points to the fact that most leaders are made and not necessarily born leaders. Business executives have long recognized the importance of leadership development and training. This is why I am so excited to announce ThoughtLink’s new Leadership Certification Program for high school students. The program will be held over 5 Sunday afternoon sessions from 2-5 pm at the Vienna Community Center in Vienna, VA. The dates for the sessions are April 1, 15, 22 and May 6 and 20. The program uses a nationally-proven curriculum that helps prepare teens for a future of success and excellence. Some of the Rising Stars curriculum includes these topics: Understanding Leadership, Goal Setting, Time Management, Motivation and How to Lead Others. The cost of the program is $699 if you register before March 17 and $749 after that date. Registration closes March 30.
The world needs more leaders like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and we are looking for outstanding high school students in the DC area to be tomorrow’s leaders. We hope you and your high school-aged students take advantage of this exciting program. To register, call 703-281-5694 or e-mail us at Leadership Registration today.