After his 1860 election, Lincoln realized with inspired humility and wisdom that he needed to include his well-experienced political rivals in his cabinet. A divided Union needed a government of unity. He invited his campaign opponents to serve a cause larger than their ambitions.
“These were the very strongest men,” Lincoln told a journalist. “Then I had no right to deprive the country of their services.”
Lincoln still provides key lessons for today’s fractured governments in need of a “team of rivals.” He knew how to share credit and accept blame. He listened hard and welcomed dissent without retaliation. He could navigate negative emotions and rise above criticism by keeping his clarity of vision and his sense of humor. He could be contrite and confident for the sake of something bigger than himself.