The Lincoln Principle
Abraham Lincoln was one of our greatest presidents. He was a man of integrity, morals, conviction and ethics. He was also known to have a temper. During the Civil War be would demonstrate great anger and disappointment for people in his administration and with many military leaders. He would sit down at night regularly and compose letters condemning people for what they did. These letters were not pleasant to read. After a letter was complete, he would take it and put it in his desk draw to be mailed the next morning.
At the end of the War, his draw was filed with these letters, not one of them ever mailed.
I have learned that all too often the only times we address someone is when things go wrong. While we cannot ignore mistakes, we need a balance. In fact, it’s far better to catch people doing things right, and give praise. Also, in the heat of the moment when things go wrong, our judgment is clouded and we tend to lash out and say things we often regret afterwards. The person on receiving end more often will shut down too, and nothing will get accomplished.
When things go wrong, pause, assess the situation. Hold your anger. Put it away, as Lincoln did. After you calm down, you will be in a much better frame of mind to deal with the issue.
Source: The Lincoln Principle