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THE PERFECT LEADER
(from The Collected Works of Neal A. Maxwell --"…A More Excellent Way")

1. Jesus loved the people he led. If one does not really love those he seeks to lead, he will soon disappoint or betray them. If followers know the leader loves them, they can trust him and this means the leader can teach them, as a friend.

2. Jesus’ leadership had a purpose which his followers came to appreciate and to share. Without a good purpose, which experience and reason authenticate, a leader cannot find or keep good disciples.

3. Jesus freed his followers from any sense of being forced to follow. He was also very honest in describing the seriousness of the problems they faced together.

4. Jesus gave his disciples meaningful, challenging, tasks, not just busy work. This helped his followers to build their own storehouse of good experiences so that they did not need to rely only on the leader and his “storehouse.”

5. Jesus knew he was responsible, not only to his purposes, but to his people. He taught them correct principles and gave the group as much freedom to govern themselves as was possible or wise.

6. Jesus was a good listener. He created a climate in which his followers could talk to him frankly about their concerns or criticisms. He helped his followers to deal with their feelings openly even though with his divine discernment he could read hearts and minds accurately.

7. Jesus often put questions to his followers to help them think through their own ideas and to understand better what he was trying to teach them. A good leader will also put problems before the group for another reason—so the group can actually make a real contribution by its ideas and actions. No mortal leader is so wise he has all the answers all the time.

8. Jesus was consistent in his life; he is not like the chameleon, a lizard-like animal which changes the color of its skin so that it is the same as its surroundings. A good leader should not try to blend into social surroundings which are not consistent with his way of life and still expect to have his followers respect him. The first two disciples impressed by Jesus wanted to learn more about him. Jesus told them, “Come and see.” A good leader must always be willing to have his followers “come and see” clearly what he and his plans are like.

(See also: Jesus: The Perfect Leader)

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