walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

musings on management and politicking

I know you can get a degree in political science. I know you can get a business degree. Yes, I know you can get several of each. Whatever.

Most people who are in politics (I think) do not have degrees in political science. And not knowing a whole lot about poli sci degree programs, I'm not entirely certain they cover what someone needs to know who has been elected, say, selectman, or to the school board.

How do new people in these positions -- whether elected or appointed -- learn how to do the/a good job? I know a lot of it is watch what the people around you are doing. I know a lot of it is mentoring. I know there are relevant courses you can take and books you can read. I know you can take what you know in one context (business, parenting) and cross-apply it in a new area (political office). There are probably numerous other strategies I have failed to think of.

When someone is a new trustee/school board member/selectman, which path do they typically take? I'm shotgunning it: I bought a book; I'm talking to other trustees; I've been on a condo board; I know a ton about this particular library and its problems. But it's still a helluva steep learning curve and I'm (as usual) dissatisfied with the huge, gaping holes in my knowledge. And increasingly concerned that I'm not the only person who doesn't know what they need to know to do a good job (and the books and articles I've read suggest that while we aren't the best board in terms of preparedness, we aren't the worst, either).

It would be nice to know how this works when things are going well, so I could figure out a way to imitate that, and show other people that model as well.
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