Those who seek to lead others unto Christ should strive to emulate the Savior’s example of perfect leadership.
To become Christlike leaders we should seek for and nourish the gift of administration (see D&C 46:15). We begin to cultivate this gift by analyzing ourselves and looking for ways to improve. The life and teachings of Jesus Christ constitute an unsurpassed example of leadership. As individuals study the life and teachings of the Savior, it is profitable to consider His example as a leader.
The Savior once asked, “What manner of men [and we might add, women] ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27). The question might be asked, “What manner of leader ought we to be?” As we study the life of the Savior it is profitable to ask questions like the following:
What qualities did the Savior exhibit as a leader?
How did these leadership qualities influence those whom He led?
In what ways can I apply these leadership qualities in administering more appropriately?
The first step in the process of becoming a Christlike leader is to accept Christ as the ideal—the one perfect being who ever walked the earth. Next, we must have a desire to become like Him. Alma taught that God grants “unto men according to their desire” (Alma 29:4). Finally, we must seek to emulate the character of the Savior. President David O. McKay said, “By choosing him [Christ] as our ideal, we create within ourselves a desire to be like him” (Man May Know for Himself: Teachings of President David O. McKay, comp. Clare Middlemiss (1967), 408).
The scriptures teach the attributes of Christlike leadership. Doctrine and Covenants 4 identifies some of the attributes of the Savior’s divine character: “Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence” (v. 6). Regarding these attributes in section 4, President Ezra Taft Benson said: “These are the virtues we are to emulate. This is the Christlike character” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1983, 61; or Ensign, Nov. 1983, 42). Moreover, the prophets of this dispensation have taught and modeled the leadership of Jesus Christ. We can learn much about how the Savior leads by studying the lives and teachings of the prophets. The principles addressed in this handbook are based on the proposition that in CES every leader and teacher is striving to emulate the divine character of the Savior.
President Spencer W. Kimball taught that the Savior “really does embody all those virtues and attributes the scriptures tell us of” (“Jesus: The Perfect Leader,” 7). President Kimball pointed out a few leadership attributes and skills the Savior demonstrated perfectly (see “Jesus: The Perfect Leader”):