Abraham Lincoln: The Emotional Problem Solver

There’s problem solving, and then there’s problem solving from an Emotional Intelligence (EQ) perspective. When highly-charged emotions start filling us up, it can become difficult to act as the level-headed leader who puts aside the personal and sees through to the solutions. But with EQ problem solving, there is no ‘putting aside’ of emotions. Instead, we tackle them head-on.

“Problem solving includes the ability to understand how emotions impact decision making.”

So who better to highlight as an example for problem solving this week than Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln? In the movie Lincoln that came out in 2012, we witness some incredible problem solving technique through which President Lincoln navigates his wife’s emotional outbursts.

In the film, the President is portrayed with (and known for) high-level problem solving skills. Even when surrounded with battles across a country and within his own cabinet, hard decisions to change a culture, losing his children and a wife who is breaking down, he does not avoid the conflicts or remain unwilling to step into the tough emotional problems.

There is a scene in the film where Lincoln’s son, Robert, decides to fight in the war. What follows that decision is a battle between Lincoln and Mary – both of whom have lost three sons before this point in time. The exchange is powerful as Mary pours out her pain and Lincoln finally, after being strong and not diving into the emotions, finally breaks down and shares his pain as well. But throughout this movie over and over again, we see examples of his ability to problem solve through highly charged emotional moments – moments that really happened, and are a reflection of the massive change he accomplished.

So, if you want to learn a bit more about powerful use of Problem Solving through the emotions, I suggest you get your hands on this movie. Not only is it an engrossing film, but the EQ displayed is certainly worth learning from. Enjoy the movie – and have some popcorn for us!

Want to see a preview of the film? Here you go:

Till next week,


Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, certified in EQi 2.0 and EQ360, a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), has been coaching high-level women and men for over six years, and is now opening her expertise to those emerging in business. Camille pulls her blog topics from her unique coaching approach that combines her training as a EQi 2.0 and EQ360 certified facilitator with the dig-deeper tools of NLP.

Get in touch here if you’d like to talk with Cam about group or one-on-one coaching, and EQ assessments. With the miracle of Skype and telephones – distance is no issue!


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