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How can I become a better leader?

Jesus Christ is the perfect example of righteous leadership. Leaders in His Church follow His example by loving and serving those they lead. By first striving to be faithful disciples, we can then help others develop strong testimonies and draw nearer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Prepare yourself spiritually

As you prepare, prayerfully study these scriptures and resources. What do you feel inspired to share with the youth?

Exodus 18:13–26 (Moses receives counsel from Jethro about how to be a more effective leader)

Matthew 20:20–28; 23:11; D&C 50:26 (Christlike leaders serve those they lead)

John 13:4–15; 3 Nephi 18:16; 27:21, 27 (Jesus Christ is our example of leadership)

Mosiah 2:11–19 (King Benjamin serves his people)

D&C 121:34–46 (Principles of righteous leadership)

Thomas S. Monson, “Examples of Righteousness,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 65–68

Tad R. Callister, “The Power of the Priesthood in the Boy,Ensign or Liahona, May 2013

Leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ,” Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 12–14

Make connections

During the first few minutes of every class, help the youth make connections between things they are learning in various settings (such as personal study, seminary, other Church classes, or experiences with their friends). How can you help them see the relevance of the gospel in daily living? The ideas below might help you:

  • Invite the youth to share an experience they had recently that reminded them of something they have been learning in their Church classes.
  • Display a picture of the Savior (see, for example, the Gospel Art Book), and write the word leader on the board. Ask the youth to write on the board other words that come to mind when they think of Jesus Christ as a perfect leader.

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the youth learn how to become more effective leaders. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work for your class:

  • As a class, read Matthew 20:20–28. What does the Savior teach His Apostles about leadership in the kingdom of God? Invite the youth to make a list on the board comparing and contrasting leadership in the world and leadership in the Church. How does a person become a leader in a business or a country? in the Church? What leadership qualities are valued in the world? in the Church? As part of this discussion, invite the youth to read scriptures that teach principles of Christlike leadership (such as those suggested in this outline). Why is it important for the youth to understand these principles? How will they use them in their families? in their Church service? in their communities?
  • Select sections from chapter 3 of Handbook 2, “Leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ,” that teach principles exemplified by the Savior (such as sections 3.2.1, 3.3.3, 3.3.4, 3.3.5, and 3.3.6). Ask each class member to read one of these sections and think of a story from the Savior’s life that illustrates the principle taught in his or her section (they could look at Gospel Art Book, 34–51, for some ideas). Ask the youth to share what they learn from the handbook and the story they thought of. What examples of these principles have they seen in their own lives?
  • As a class, read 3 Nephi 27:21, 27. Ask the youth to think about the message of these scriptures as you share with them President Thomas S. Monson’s story about wiggling his ears, from his talk “Examples of Righteousness” (or show this portion of his talk on video). What does this story teach the youth about leadership? Invite them to ponder what messages they are communicating to others by the way they live. Encourage them to share experiences in which they were blessed by the example of another member the class. What other leadership qualities do they see in each other?
  • Ask a class member to put on a backpack. Load the backpack with books or other objects until it becomes very heavy. Ask the youth how this backpack might represent a leadership calling. Invite the youth to study Exodus 18:13–26 and look for the counsel Moses received from Jethro about how to be a better leader. What could have happened if Moses had not followed this counsel? Invite the youth to imagine that they have been assigned to organize a stake youth conference. How would they apply Jethro’s counsel to this situation? Give them time to plan their imaginary youth conference. Who would they ask to help? What would they ask these people to do?
  • Write several of the leadership principles taught by Elder Tad R. Callister in “The Power of the Priesthood in the Boy” on separate pieces of paper. Give one paper to each class member, and ask him or her to search the article for information about the assigned principle. Invite class members to share what they learn about leadership from Elder Callister. Encourage them to share any personal examples of these principles.

Ask the youth to share what they learned today. Do they understand how to become better leaders? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this topic?

Invite to act

Ask the youth what they feel inspired to do based on what they learned today. Encourage them to act on these feelings. Consider ways you can follow up.