What ‘Jaws’ Can Teach You About Ethical Leadership

It’s peak beach season in Martha’s Vineyard, and after a great white shark begins attacking swimmers, Chief of Police Martin Brody locks horns with Mayor Larry Vaughn. Brody wants to close the beach; Vaughn wants to keep it open to keep the local economy flourishing.

That’s the conflict in the first act of Jaws. Brody values the well being of the community over financial gain, and he eventually prevails. But a similar conflict exists in every community whenever there is threat to public health, and it is often county and city health officials who take the lead in vanquishing it.

Lori Tremmel Freeman is the CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and I spoke with her about how members of her organization resolve conflicts like the one that Roy Scheider’s character faced.

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