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: