Teddy Roosevelt, Leadership, and Principles

Two of my favorite ways to learn leadership skills are to surround myself with other leaders and study history. I recently finished an excellent documentary on Teddy Roosevelt called Theodore Roosevelt: An American Lion. There are numerous takeaways from the documentary and wanted to share a few:

1. He had a strong, merit-based view on life. Teddy saw folks for what they could do – that’s how he valued individuals. In fact, he was the first President to invite an African American (Booker T. Washington) to the White House even amidst the public outcry from so many racists.

2. Following up on takeaway #1, he wasn’t afraid to do what was right regardless of political or social pressure.¬†Whether he was trust busting big business and being called a “traitor to his class” or going against the NY political machine that helped elect him Governor of New York, he had a moral compass that was stronger than political or social pressure.

3. His standards were incredibly high.¬†Teddy was an intense and ambitious man. He had the highest expectations of the folks around him…perhaps even to a fault seeing that his son was hospitalized at the age of 10 with constant headaches; they were a result from his father’s pressure. Regardless, Teddy expected the best from his surroundings.

If you have time, I highly recommend watching it:


4 Responses

  1. Bird Blitch says:

    He is my favorite. His mother, a Bulloch (any relation to Bulloch county?) was from Roswell GA. He loved zoology and has a museum of animals at his brownstone in NYC. For entrepreneurs, he really made famous the “strenuous life” which is what our lives are all about in a very positive way.

    • Jon Birdsong says:

      Great comment about the “strenuous life.” He definitely was in his lowest state of mind when he wasn’t in the arena.

  2. Good to see you yesterday, Jon. And thanks for this post, I’ve had this sitting in my DVR queue for a while now and wasn’t sure if I was going to watch it – now I will!

    • Jon Birdsong says:


      Great to see you as well. Thanks for continuing to put out great content.