Lessons in Leadership: Integrating Courage, Vision, and Innovation for the Future of Sustainable Fisheries
Leadership Tenets: Be Prepared, Accept the Challenge, Trust in Yourself and Others, and Communicate Clearly
Douglas L. Stang
Leaders are built, in part, through personal growth by taking on progressively more challenging roles and responsibilities, being prepared to take on those roles and adapting when things go awry, developing confidence in yourself and trust in others, and clearly communicating expectations. Each of us possesses, to varying degrees, leadership qualities that help us address challenges at work, at home, and throughout life. Via experiences, we have opportunities to develop those qualities and become more effective leaders. In the next few paragraphs, I offer perspectives and advice garnered from a limited, but long-term career as a fisheries and natural resources professional.
As a young man, my experiences with Boy Scouts (now Scouts BSA) provided an abundance of opportunities to develop skills that ultimately helped shape my interest in effective leadership and what that means. Participating in Boy Scouts and adhering to the principles of the Boy Scout oath and Boy Scout law sincerely contributed to my personal development and that of other of young men (and now young women). I suggest that the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” and certain elements of the Boy Scout oath (“duty to others, keeping oneself mentally awake”) and scout law (being “trustworthy, loyal, brave”) are particularly relevant to developing leadership qualities, as were the opportunities to lead other scouts. I was asked to serve as the senior patrol leader for our troop—the scout with ultimate responsibility for the other scouts. Now, as a 15-year-old boy, I was to lead the 25-plus scouts in Troop 61, many of whom were older than me—a challenge generally not relished by teenagers. Our scoutmaster sensed my apprehension (could he really see the knot in my stomach?) but said,
I would not have asked you to serve in this role if I was not confident in your abilities and in your readiness to take on this challenge . . . Remember, be prepared, rely on others and persevere.