Saturday, October 21, 2017

President Spencer W. Kimball on Jesus' example of principled and loving leadership

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895-1985) was ordained an apostle in 1943 and served as President of the Church from 1973 to 1985.
"Jesus operated from a base of fixed principles or truths rather than making up the rules as he went along. Thus, his leadership style was not only correct, but also constant. So many secular leaders today are like chameleons; they change their hues and views to fit the situation—which only tends to confuse associates and followers who cannot be certain what course is being pursued. Those who cling to power at the expense of principle often end up doing almost anything to perpetuate their power.
"Jesus said several times, 'Come, follow me.' His was a program of 'do what I do,' rather than 'do what I say.' His innate brilliance would have permitted him to put on a dazzling display, but that would have left his followers far behind. He walked and worked with those he was to serve. His was not a long-distance leadership. He was not afraid of close friendships; he was not afraid that proximity to him would disappoint his followers. The leaven of true leadership cannot lift others unless we are with and serve those to be led."
- Spencer W. Kimball, "Jesus: The Perfect Leader," address to the Young Presidents organization, Sun Valley, Idaho, 15 January 1977; see Ensign, August 1979, p. 6
Click here to read the full talk

It's important to be correct, but it's also important to be constant. In an interesting analysis, President Kimball explains how Jesus manifested both of those characteristics in His leadership. We have seen many recent examples of the statement, "Those who cling to power at the expense of principle often end up doing almost anything to perpetuate their power." It's very sad when the desire for fame or wealth eclipses moral foundations and even common decency.

How blessed we are to have the pure example of leaders like the Savior, who invited us to follow His example:

This is an important message for any of us, since we are periodically given opportunities or assignments to function in leadership roles. The best leaders are those who care the most about the people they lead and desire only to serve and bless. Another way to look at it is that the people who care the most about those around them often become the leaders!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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