Lessons in Leadership: Integrating Courage, Vision, and Innovation for the Future of Sustainable Fisheries

Lessons from Leaders: The Difference between Good and Great

T. Douglas Beard, Jr. and Abigail J. Lynch

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874608.ch13

Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great. [John D. Rockefeller.]

Imitation is considered the sincerest form of flattery. Observing great leaders can help aspiring leaders to discern differences, sometimes subtle, between good leadership and what defines one as great. We have had the privilege to work with good and great leaders and have the combined experience to observe a few key traits that we find common in great leaders. Namely, great leaders have a vision, they take risks, they make difficult decisions, and they put their employees1 in positions to succeed.

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else. [Yogi Berra.]

Organizations under good leadership can maintain the status quo like a well-oiled machine. In many cases, this will perfectly suffice. The gears will keep grinding and the wheels will keep turning. But doing what has always been done is not akin to progress. Often, great leaders have a broader vision of where they want their organizations to be, which serves as inspiration to their staff to develop plans, projects, and programs as building blocks for the team to achieve. A vision is a motivating tool, a roadmap for how to accomplish goals through achieving operational objectives; it is what a great leader wants to do, which inspires employees to strive and drives employees to achieve.