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April 26, 2014

A Word of Advice: Don't wait for someone else to act

“To sit home, read one’s favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what evil men count upon the good men’s doing.”

That’s a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt, relevant in politics and beyond. To paraphrase his words, the hard thing about being a good person isn’t seeing what’s wrong in the world, it’s acting against those wrongdoings and actually working to make a difference. 

Now, we might not necessarily be talking about “evil” per se, as in terrorists or Nazis here, but even something as small as seeing local sports teams vanish can be a negative force against the population of your area worth combating. Being the one to step up and lead people against these “evils” can be tough. But if everybody leaves problems for people they feel are more qualified to deal with them, then nobody will feel as if he or she can actually do anything about the bad we see in our lives.

A good leader is often seen as somebody who, rather than bossing people around, works to streamline his efforts toward a common goal, making use of everybody’s special strengths while making sure weaknesses are covered by “teammates.”

A common misconception about being able to lead is that you have to be able to be a “person of all hats,” being able to do everything. While it’s definitely a good thing to know a thing or two about what you’re trying to do, even more important than possessing specific skills is being able to recognize them in others and how they might be of use. 

Being the organizer to see where people are most effective and giving them the motivation, planning and guidance to feel good about doing their job is the key to directing people for a cause and fighting the “evils” Roosevelt was talking about.

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