Good, Better, Best Leadership


When we were little children, we learned methods to remind us how to spell certain words and how to remember different grammatical rules.  One of my favorite rhymes involved the word, “good”. I even can recite the way it went: 

“Good, better best

Never let it rest

Until your good is better

And your better best”


It may seem at face value to be just a group of words to memorize, but I actually think this rhyme is a great lesson and mantra for leaders. What does it mean to be a good leader or a better leader or a best leader? 

Good Leaders Are Present

There are many good leaders out there in organizations as well in our everyday lives. They are focused and create a welcoming and safe environment. They are approachable and seem to really care about their vision and mission. They are knowledgeable and lead the way with substantial goals and direction. 

Better Leaders Are Involved

I have met better leaders throughout my work and volunteer life.  They are not only focused on the journey they need to take, but also are able to get in the trenches and get their hands dirty. They know that stepping up is an important part of leading and aren’t afraid to take on the challenges. These leaders thrive on learning about the issues and really problem solve creatively with the team members.

 Best Leaders Build Relationships

Then there are those leaders who realize that the greatest way to lead is by connecting to people and building authentic relationships. These are the best leaders, as they understand the meaning of open and trusting relationships. Their priority is empowering others to leverage their talents and abilities because high performing team members create high performing teams. They spend time getting to know what makes people tick and what they truly care about.

Do you aspire to being a best leader? Some of these steps might just get you there:

 1.    Arrange a coffee or lunch with each team member to get better acquainted.

2.    Share your stories about challenges you have endured.

3.    Learn what talents people have that are presently untapped.

4.   Encourage idea sharing and give credit for peoples’ contributions.

5.    Be an advocate for others by helping them make connections.

6.    Model gratitude by expressing appreciation daily to everyone around you.


How have you created your best leadership?


 photo credit

13 thoughts on “Good, Better, Best Leadership

  1. Love you poem! When I was in 4-H we had a motto: To make the best, better. I’ve always lived by that rule of thumb, and included it in my application to the FBI! They must have loved it, too 🙂

    This is a great, uplifting post to help leaders remind themselves they need to roll up their shirtsleeves and mentor their team members, get to know them, and encourage them to meet their challenges. People-work is harder than paper-work and given great suggestions on how to get that started.

  2. I am delighted to hear that someone else understands the power of these timeless words! And to imagine you included it on your FBI application! I knew we were kindred spirits, LaRae!

    But making “best” a place for leaders to aspire to, really isn’t that difficult if they embrace the concept of building meaningful relationships. Putting people first is key and then all else will fall into place. Believing in your troops and empowering them to play to their strengths is the “best” way to lead.

    Thanks LaRae for your wonderful additions!

  3. I love what this post conjures up within.

    To be the best is to be invested in self and in others.

    How simple is that … pretty complicated.

    To be your best you have to care

    To be your best you have to share

    To be your best you have to be insincere.

    Leaders who take these extra steps are the BEST leaders!


  4. You are so right, Lolly that it is pretty simple to be the “best” leader when you take the time to nurture others!

    When we lead by developing meaningful relationships, we are also building the foundation for an extraordinary network and team to strategize with.

    When we are there for people and cultivate their interests, we learn so much and gain amazing insights about ourselves.

    Thanks Lolly!

  5. Love this post Terri! This gives us an opportunity to take a look at where we are at now and strive to be our VERY best! Great ways provided by you to engage with our team. I will be sharing with my communities!

  6. Thanks Cynthia for sharing some of my suggestions to move to our “best” leadership. I so appreciate you stopping by and offering such great additions!


  7. I didn’t know that rhyme but you know what I’m going to do tomorrow? Share it with my children!

    Love that your description of a good leader is really strong. It’s OK to be a good leader but even better when we strive to continually get better! I’m with you on what makes the best leaders – relationships. It’s beyond the well-liked good leader… there is an element of honesty, vulnerability and a willingness to share from their personal journey that differentiates the best.

    You have me thinking about the good/better/best leaders I know and I’ve worked with over the years! Thanks, Terri!

  8. I guess you are too young, Alli to have been taught this silly rhyme! It was of course used to remember that there is no “gooder” or “goodest”.

    I love how you make the point that it is a process of growing into the “best” type of leader. We do learn along the way and hopefully become more comfortable in sharing our life lessons. If we can put others at ease and empower them to utilize their gifts then we have truly succeeded in making a difference in someone’s life.

    As always, I appreciate your thoughtful comments!

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