If we want to lead as the Savior did, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles says, we must realize that before we can build anything, we must build people.
Speaking to a group of Church employees at a leadership seminar, Elder Holland encouraged all people to look to Christ and to follow principles of righteousness in guiding others to the truth. “Keep righteousness in the forefront of your mind; keep the Savior in the forefront of your mind. Then inspire; then lift.”
Start with People
Just as Christ cared for individuals first, Elder Holland says, so must we. “He always started with the people. He always saw standing before Him a child of God. There were tasks for these people to do—some of it was personal repentance and some of it was moving the kingdom forward collectively—everything from the immediate to the grand. But He always started with people.
“God is in the people business. His work and His glory is to save individuals and families. So I think we, too, start with the people. Then, when we’ve got our arms around each other and we have a gospel bond, when we see the image of the Savior out ahead of us, then we can tackle the world.”
Think Often of Him
The first step, Elder Holland says, is to “think about Him more than we do. Someone asked Isaac Newton once how he came to realize, specifically the law of gravity, but overall, Newtonian physics. He said straightforwardly, ‘I thought about it all the time.’
“It would be a good little interview with ourselves to ask, ‘How much of the affections of my heart are placed on the Lord? How often do I think about Him?’ Elder Holland says. “The underlying, fundamental pledge of the sacrament prayer as we offer it each Sunday is to remember. … I’m not sure we remember Him enough. I’m not sure we think about Him enough. And just remembering wouldn’t do it all, but that would be a first step if you say you’re going to be like Him.”
Don’t Stray from Righteousness
Elder Holland says it is also important to remember this lesson from Doctrine and Covenants section 121: “The powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness (v. 36).”
“I don’t know whether that’s going to let you get the job done as quickly … but you’re not going to be able to get it done correctly if you ever stray from principles of righteousness. … If it starts to be less than that … then we’ve gained the world and lost our soul.”
Follow the Savior
Another closely related leadership principle, he says, is summarized “in three words from the New Testament: ‘Come, follow me’ (Luke 18:22). Jesus says, ‘Just do it the way I do it. Talk the way I talk. Walk the way I walk. Treat people the way I treat people. Cry when I cry.’ That’s the Savior’s message: “ ‘Come, follow me.’ ”