Your Favorite President

Who is your Favorite President of the United States?

And why?

I grew up in the eras of Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and have raised children during eras of Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden.

It’s amazing to think there have been so few presidents in my lifetime, only 8 of them, as I’m a few years short of having been around half a century.

Watching people lead through recessions, responding to terrorism, initiating war, navigating pandemics, social issues, and have the magnifying glass of criticism for every decision, makes you wonder how come anyone would want to become president.

When I think of the ultimate and favorite leader of our Country, I would have to say, in my lifetime, it would be hard to consider any that I have listed above, although perhaps with time they could be in a top 5-10 list.

My Favorite President seems to be the one most people name: Abraham Lincoln.

In my office alone I have 2 paintings, one bronze bust, and one wooden statue of Lincoln, along with one of George Washington praying at Valley Forge as the only other president on my shelves.

I often look at these images of Lincoln and consider what he would do, or say, and how he came to be such a great leader.




Years ago, I would pen my disappointment and rage when something went awry in my life, be it a disagreement, or firing of an employee, and send it in haste as quickly as it was written.

Rather than calling or setting up a meeting, it was easier to simply write and send the email or text, paying the consequences later, and often not even responding to their requests for sympathy, forgiveness, or conversation.

I don’t like that about myself and my history, but it was my way of handling hard things before I knew better.

Once I finally read about Lincoln and the ways in which he handled the hardest moments of the Civil War, when generals let him down or disobeyed his commands altogether, I realized I could change and try to act more like Lincoln.

I learned that he had done the same as I had for years – writing harsh letters to issues and, subsequently, ruining relationships with important people in his life.

So one day he decided to do something different: He would write what he wanted to say to that person, rip them completely apart, read them the riot act, and then, instead of sending it, placed it in his drawer to consider whether it was worth it to send.

Upon Lincoln’s death, the letters were found, a large stack of them, in his desk drawer, having never been sent.

Instead of sending the letter, he got his feelings out in word for himself to expel the criticism, and in most cases, met with the person man to man, or allowed issues to resolve themselves.

When it was necessary to confront a grave issue, he did so, rather than sending the letter.

This simple practice has changed my life.

It has caused some of my greatest trials as well, since “crucial conversations” are so physically and emotionally painful for me, such as recently when I had to let an employee go after performance issues that had become too hard to continue to allow, despite months of trying to steer towards success.

I have now been sick for a week due to that discussion, but it was essential, unresolvable any other way, and I did what Lincoln would do – we spoke as adults about hard things, and did my best to give them a soft way to land.

I still find myself having a need to write first, and most of the time, will send it as a way to start the conversation to be had, but I always have the conversation as well…whereas before, I didn’t allow for that to happen…which I deeply regret.

I made a new Promise.

Lincoln helps me be a better communicator and person.

Any leader who inspires us through their methods, Signature Moves, kept Promises, and especially when we learn about their own self-improvement, is the kind of Leader I aspire to be.

Who is the President and Leader who inspires you the most?

Happy President’s Day.


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~ Jason Hewlett

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2 thoughts on “Your Favorite President”

  1. One of the best books I read that prepared me for a leadership role at my police department was Lincoln on Leadership. Spoke to the points you raised.

    1. That’s the one I was referencing! Thank you! I forgot the name of it. Love it – Donald Phillips. Excellent read.

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