Finding Your Inner President

Who’s your favmodern presidentsorite modern President? Was it their temperament or politics or a stand they took? Or was it some other yardstick you’d use to measure them?

They all present one massive truth about leadership. Oh, my gosh, it’s hard and thankless. Here, compliments of the great Wikipedia/Gallup are their highs, lows and average approval ratings:

Presidential approval history since FDR

Besides providing a fun journey in time — and maybe a few surprises — take a look at the bolded numbers on the left side of the “lowest approval” column.  38, 25, 37, 29 . . . with a 56 for JFK who hardly had a chance to lose his widespread approval.

The points to take away? First, it’s hard to lead this diverse and demanding country. Perhaps if we appreciated the difficulty of leading, we’d be easier on our presidents and more demanding of ourselves as citizens. Second, to me the lesson is: If you are going to lead, you are going to challenge people; they’re not all going to like you; you will have your ups and downs. The average range of highest to lowest approval rating is 42 points.  People are fickle (and there are chances to rebound).

So, whether you are a mom or dad or mayor or manager; whether you are a student activist, committee chair, or block club leader, you assuredly will not please all the people all the time.  Nor should you! Leaders stress people from time to time. Leaders push people to address hard issues.  They present unpleasant truths. They prompt difficult change. They get people to work harder.

Back from your day off — if you were lucky — I hope you find some solace and seek courage and resilience, as you

Lead with your best self!