As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we may have opportunities to serve in leadership positions. All of us serve as disciples of Jesus Christ. What leadership principles can help us be like Jesus? What gospel principles help us work and serve together as His disciples? What helps us develop unity so we become one in purpose like the Father and the Son?

The Church’s General Handbook of Instructions teaches the following about Principles of Leadership in the Church: “During His earthly ministry, the Savior set the example of leadership for His Church. His central purpose was doing the will of His Heavenly Father and helping others understand and live His gospel. He loved those He led and showed that love by serving them (see John 13:3–5). The Savior increased the capacity of others by giving them responsibility and opportunities to grow. He encouraged and corrected with clarity and love.”

  • Love: John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
  • Humility: D&C 121:39 “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.”
  • Kindness: D&C 121:41-42 “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.”
  • Pure Love: Moroni 7:45-47 “And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.”

How well are we remembering “faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence”? (D&C 4:6)

As disciples or followers of Christ, how well are we doing our part to get along with our mission leaders?

Adjusting to Missionary Life provides the following suggestions and tools:

  • Be humble (see D&C 112:10). Humility is the fountain of all virtues. Ask your leaders for suggestions on how you can improve. Be willing to take counsel and let them know they can count on you. Thank your leaders for their service, both verbally and in writing. (See Preach My Gospel, 120–21.)
  • Ask a leader or trainer for help and patience. Some missionaries distrust authority figures or find it hard to take direction because they are used to being their own boss. Others feel competitive with leaders who are peers. Let leaders know if you have these challenges. Pray for humility to be a good follower.
  • Pray for your leaders. Pray especially for any toward whom you have unkind feelings.
  • Realize that leaders are human. If we think leaders are supposed to be much better than other people, we will be disappointed and become critical when they make mistakes, get impatient, show poor judgment, or misunderstand us. Expect imperfections, and look for positive attributes (see Mormon 9:31).
  • Learn from your leader’s strengths and mistakes. Make a list of qualities you want to emulate or avoid when it is your turn to lead.

May we all be united and joined together in faith and love as we serve together in the great work of gathering Israel in the last days.

[Please note: The ideas contained in these articles are tools and suggestions for self-care, but they are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a qualified mental health professional. In addition, if you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please seek medical or mental health assistance immediately.  In the U.S., call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or use the Lifeline Chat at Services are free and confidential.]