Sunday, October 6, 2013

President's Weekly Letter #52


Every missionary is a leader.  He leads his investigators, his junior companion and other missionaries. In the last article Leadership 101, I distilled down, from my own experience, the following 4 basic leadership characteristics for missionaries and for life:

1.     Always be training your replacement
2.     Your satisfaction comes from seeing your team members excel
3.     Sacrifice your personal production to assist your team members to increase their production and to be their best
4.     Set the example

These leadership characteristics are powerful.  It is not just my experience but is doctrinally based as well.  The mission experiences to the Lamanites by Ammon with his brothers and others, are a good example of the use of these leadership attributes in real life.

Always be training your replacement.  Ammon, as the leader of the group of missionaries, trained his replacement.  In fact from the record, it appears he trained them so well they could have done, in his place, just as well as Ammon did.  Afterwards they all went separate ways every man alone. 

“18 Now Ammon being the chief among them, or rather he did administer unto them, and he departed from them, after having blessed them according to their several stations, having imparted the word of God unto them, or administered unto them before his departure; and thus they took their several journeys throughout the land.” (Alma 17:18)

Your satisfaction comes from seeing your team members excel.  Ammon certainly left no doubt that he felt responsible for the group’s performance and received his joy from their successes.  He obviously loved them very much.

“14 But I do not joy in my own success alone, but my joy is more full because of the success of my brethren, who have been up to the land of Nephi.
 15 Behold, they have labored exceedingly, and have brought forth much fruit; and how great shall be their reward!
 16 Now, when I think of the success of these my brethren my soul is carried away, even to the separation of it from the body, as it were, so great is my joy.
 17 And now may God grant unto these, my brethren, that they may sit down in the kingdom of God….”  (Alma 29:14-17)

Sacrifice your personal production to assist your team members to increase their production and to be their best.  King Lamoni gave a referral to Ammon to teach a family member, his parents.  Ammon turned it down because his priority was to help increase the performance of his group.  Imagine turning down a joint teach with a new convert who is super converted and who provided the referral in the first place and he is will go with you to the appointment with his parents.    

“1 … king Lamoni desired that Ammon should go with him to the land of Nephi, that he might show him unto his father.
  3 … Ammon …said unto Lamoni: Behold, my brother and brethren are in prison at Middoni, and I go that I may deliver them.”   (Alma 20:1-3)

Later Ammon personally meets this red hot referral, Lamoni’s father, in a confrontation and a subsequent sword fight.  That is not the recommended way to meet a referral but, nonetheless, Ammon won the fight and because Lamoni’s father was so impressed with his son’s change and the love Ammon had for his son, Lamoni’s father, the referral, said:

 “…I shall greatly desire to see thee…he was desirous to learn [Ammon’s words].” (Alma 20:27)

Even after all this, Ammon did not teach this referral.  He left this referral to eventually be taught by his brother while he helped his brother and other missionaries become more effective, in this case to be let out of jail.

I hope we never turn-down responding to referrals, but the principle here of sacrificing your own production to assist your team members is clear.

Set the example.  Ammon understood the need to show his brethren how to succeed by producing success himself.

“ 13 Yea, and that same God did establish his church among them; yea, and that same God hath called me by a holy calling, to preach the word unto this people, and hath given me much success, in the which my joy is full.”  (Alma 29:13)

All missionaries: junior companions, senior companions, trainers, district leaders, sister training leaders, zone leaders and assistants, will be blessed during their missions and in life as they recognize and follow this leadership model.
President Robinson

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