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Thursday December 18th 2014

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How to be a better elected official in 2013

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Forbes has published a slideshow on how employees can be better. I’ve adapted the 14 points for elected officials.

1. Anticipate your district’s needs. What are the issues in your district? Not your issues–theirs.

2. Get to know your constituents better. Reach out to your neighborhoods. Go to ballparks, school events and churches. Listen, listen, listen.

3. Assume success. The problems facing the city and county can be daunting. Assume you, your board and staff will be successful.

4. Study your government. Do you homework before every meeting. Learn how things get done.

5. Always come to the table with a solution. It’s not enough to shout and point fingers. Too much of that happens in D.C. There’s no room for it on the local level.

6. Find a mentor. It’s okay to not know all the answers. Everyone needs a sounding board. Don’t pick a “Yes” man.

7. Improve your communication skills. Emails, speeches, newsletters, blogs all can be effective, but keep your constituents in mind at all times. What do they need to know?

8. Work harder and smarter. Stay focused on the task at hand. Always keep what’s important in mind. Don’t get caught up in petty politics.

9. Don’t overwork yourself. It’s important to take breaks. Enjoy your family and friends. It’s okay to turn off your cell phone.

10. Volunteer to get involved with special projects, particularly those across districts. Give back to the community. Work with one of the local non-profits. Really work, don’t just be a board member.

11. See the big picture. Petty politics dominated local politics too often. It’s not about your ego.

12. Invest in continuous learning to stay on top of your game. Go to regional and state meetings. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

13. Ask the right questions. It’s okay to question your fellow board members during meetings.

14. Follow through on all tasks and commitments. If you say you are going to do something, do it.