Approaching Leadership Cheerfully

Principles of Leadership Teachers Manual Religion 180R, (2001), 48–56

“Therefore, dearly beloved … , let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power” (D&C 123:17).

Principle of Leadership

We should approach leadership cheerfully.

Lesson Concepts

  1. 1.

    Church and family leaders should lead with “good cheer, optimism, and courage.”

Concept 1. Church and Family Leaders Should Lead With “Good Cheer, Optimism, and Courage.”


Be of good cheer means “have a happy or brave disposition or attitude.” This phrase appears several times in the scriptures. For example, on the eve of His birth, the Lord said to the distraught Nephi: “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets” (3 Nephi 1:13; italics added).

Jesus used the words be of good cheer to encourage a man sick with palsy, and then added, “thy sins be forgiven thee” (Matthew 9:2). Later the Lord spoke these words to calm His disciples who became afraid after seeing Jesus walk on water, and added, “It is I; be not afraid” (Matthew 14:27).

Elder Harold B. Lee, who was then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, said: “The Master closed his last recorded sermon prior to his crucifixion with the words: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33.)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1966, 68).

In 1831 the Lord reassured the Saints, “Be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you;

“And inasmuch as you have humbled yourselves before me, the blessings of the kingdom are yours” (D&C 61:36–37; see D&C 68:6; 78:18; 112:4).

Elder Marvin J. Ashton, who was a member of the Twelve, said: “We need to lead with good cheer, optimism, and courage if we are to move onward and upward” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1974, 56; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, 41). President Gordon B. Hinckley wrote: “I am suggesting that as we go through life, we ‘accentuate the positive.’ I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort” (Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes [2000], 101).

Teaching Idea

Ask several students to describe the disposition of a Church or family leader who has affected their life for good. Point out that effective leaders are almost always positive or cheerful when they are with other people. Ask students how the leaders who influenced them demonstrated their positive or cheerful approach.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 61:36 and help students understand that the Lord wants all of us to “be of good cheer.”

Have students read 2 Nephi 4:17–35. Discuss questions such as:

  • What reasons did Nephi have for not being cheerful?

  • What reasons did he have for being cheerful?

  • Which set of reasons do you find more compelling? Why?

  • How do you think Nephi’s attitude as expressed in these verses affected his leadership?

  • How can we follow Nephi’s example in our own leadership?

Write the words Cheerful and Fearful on the board. Discuss reasons leaders today might have for not being cheerful (such as fear, stress, health problems, failures, wars, natural disasters, problems at school or work, inactivity of loved ones or friends). Discuss reasons leaders today might have for being cheerful (such as the kindness of others, beauty, the “good news” of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice, the achievements of others, our potential as children of Heavenly Father). Point to the words on the board and state, “You can choose what kind of leader you want to be.”

Divide your class into small groups. Ask each group to identify two or three things leaders might do to be more cheerful in their leadership. Have each group share its suggestions with the class. These might include:

  • “Cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated” (D&C 88:124).

  • Exercise appropriately and eat a balanced diet.

  • Enjoy uplifting music.

  • Study the scriptures and other good books.

  • Learn to forgive people who offend you, and forget the offense.

  • Practice the Golden Rule.

  • Be more grateful. Count your blessings and thank Heavenly Father for them.

  • Treat people with kindness and courtesy.

  • Be active in your ward.

  • Develop a healthy and appropriate sense of humor.

Encourage students to have “good cheer” as they lead.

Teacher Resources

Joseph B. Wirthlin