This week in class, we discussed the qualities of a good leader. There were too many to list them all here, but a few that I would like to focus on are:
- Is responsible
- Loves those who they are serving
- Has a good attitude
- Knows what they stand for
- Has vision
First I will touch on being responsible. We’ve all been told all our lives, you have to be responsible for your actions. When you make a choice, there is always a consequence, whether positive or negative. You have to take responsibility for your actions and the consequences. As a leader, however, there is some additional responsibility. You also have a need to be responsible for the actions of those under your jurisdiction. Recently, in my calling as Relief Society president, I have had some experience regarding this. As an example, one month we didn’t do so well with our visiting teaching. There were a variety of elements that contributed to the low rate of visiting teaching, but when discussing this with the bishop, there was no time for excuses; I had to take responsibility for the outcome of that month’s circumstances and come up with a way for us to improve. As a Relief Society president, you oftentimes must take responsibility for those under your stewardship. In a different regard, however, as a member of the church in general, whether in a leadership position or not, it is often a good idea to take responsibility in places you see fit. It may not be an assigned task to visit someone in need or to help out in the nearby retirement home, but you have the option to take responsibility for those things as well. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, why not take an hour out of your day and do something charitable? It is never a bad idea to do something good, even if it isn’t your direct responsibility.
Next, I will address being loving toward those who you are serving. As a leader, you will more effectively serve those you are working with and for if you love them. Without love, it will likely just be mindless work; however, if you love the people you will be considerate of their wants and needs, their concerns, etc. As Relief Society president, it is of the utmost importance to love those who you are serving. It is one aspect of being the president that is vital to success. There is absolutely no way you will be able to successfully serve the members of the Relief Society if you don’t love them. One thing I have found to be very intriguing in my time as RSP is the fact that although I don’t know all of the sisters very well, I feel so much love for all of them. In fact, even though a few just moved into the ward less than two weeks ago, I am already overwhelmed with love and concern for each of them. But the part I find most intriguing is that it’s not my love I’m feeling for them…. I can literally feel of God’s love for each of them. It truly is amazing. I think this is true for any capacity you are serving in, especially within the Church. Whether you have a calling or not, you can always serve others and, if you seek after it, you will be able to feel God’s love for those you are serving. Without that sense of love, your service to them won’t mean very much to you, and consequently, it won’t mean as much to them. When your service is filled with love, on the other hand, the service you are giving will be much more meaningful to both you and the recipient.
“Attitude determines altitude.” Although this saying is very cliche, it still remains true. Your attitude will determine your success. Not only will your attitude determine your personal success, i.e. concerning work, school, and other forms of working your way up the ladder, your attitude will also determine how successfully you can lead others. A truly good leader will have a positive attitude about everything he/she does. Your attitude can determine the attitudes of those you are working with and thereby determine the success of what you are working on. Whether you are working on a task you enjoy or one you hate, it is important to have a good attitude. To use the example of visiting teaching again, I have found that the attitude of the presidency and the VT leader have a tremendous impact on the amount of visiting teaching that gets done. If the presidency and the VT leader aren’t encouraging everyone to do their visiting teaching and smiling all the while, there is consistently a much lower success rate. It is vital for the leaders to have a good attitude. Even when not in a position of leadership in the Church, it is important to be positive and enthusiastic about everything you do. Even if it is just doing your visiting or home teaching every month, your attitude is the determining factor in how worthwhile it is for you and for those you are teaching. Doing your part is good, but doing it with a good attitude and enthusiasm is even better.
A good leader knows what they stand for. No one wants to follow someone who is unsure or wavering. Even if those you are leading don’t agree with the beliefs you have, they will still follow you if you know what you believe in. I think as a member of the Church, this is of the utmost importance. If you don’t know what you believe in and what you stand for, you won’t be able to be an effective leader in the Church. You have to know what you believe in and where your feet are planted. People won’t follow you if you don’t have a place to lead them. Conversely, if you know where you are going, people will automatically tend to follow you. It is amazing what a simple thing like confidence can do.
Lastly, an effective leader always has vision. Now, I don’t mean that like they have two eyeballs that can see. I mean that a good leader can see what they are working toward, have an end result in mind, and always have a plan of action. It is important for me as a member of the Church to have a vision of how I can help people be the best they can be. I think that especially at this time, while I have a specific leadership role in the Church, I need to work my hardest at having a vision of what I want my Relief Society to be. However, it is not only enough to envision it – I also must come up with a plan of action. For example, if I were to want to improve the visiting teaching percentages in my Relief Society, I would talk to my VT leader and have her make some reminders, make sure to announce it each Sunday in Relief Society (with lots of enthusiasm, of course), give reminder calls, etc. It is important to be able to make the changes you want to see.
Qualities of a good leader are not only applicable in a leadership role, they are qualities all of us should try to exemplify all the time. They make it easier for you to improve and to be your best self, and for you to help others become their best as well.