Elder Bragg, a General Authority Seventy, began with an event that took place May 15, 1993, when Warren Bennis, his favorite author at the time, spoke at the UCLA Book Fair. With his ticket and book in hand, Elder Bragg waited in the heat to get inside and hear what Bennis had to say.
He noticed an older gentleman who seemed lost, so Elder Bragg asked if the man was all right and told him he was in the right place, then inquired at the door about a possible overflow section, which was available.
Upon entering the auditorium, the man saw Bennis and wanted to talk to him. Despite Elder Bragg’s voiced concerns, he followed as the man moved toward Bennis, who greeted him cheerfully. Bennis and the man were brothers who had not seen one another for years.
After hearing how Elder Bragg had helped the man, Bennis offered to sign Elder Bragg’s book he was holding. While doing so, Bennis shared the first principle of leadership: kindness.
Reflecting on this experience, Elder Bragg stated, “It is not about taking charge or being in charge, but blessing those who are in your charge.”
He said the ultimate teacher of leadership is Christ, being the Master Leader, as illustrated in 3 Nephi 11-18 when He visited the Nephites on the American continent. From the first day of His visit, Elder Bragg highlighted three universal leadership principles learned from the Savior.
1. Focus on individuals
Christ interacted with, healed, blessed, prayed for, ministered to and ordained “one by one.” Regardless of the size of any group, it is made up of individuals. Each of their progress will harvest a greater sense of achievement and joy.
2. Build up and teach
Elder Bragg explained that just as the Savior did when teaching His disciples about their callings, individuals should be taught what to do, how to do it and why, followed by genuine praise. “Every leader is a teacher and every teacher lifts and inspires others to learn more,” he said.
3. Teach repetitively
Repetition is an aspect of Jesus’ teaching. Christ taught key doctrinal points multiple times in order for others to understand and receive revelation through the Spirit. He emphasized a thought from FedEx founder Fred Smith that states, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” In other words, Elder Bragg said, the Savior bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of all is “the main thing.”
What Christ did
Elder Bragg listed five ecclesiastical leadership principles based on Christ’s actions:
1. Testify — Testify of the Savior and His Atonement in word and deed.
2. Minister to the one — The gathering of Israel starts on an individual basis.
3. Invite to act — Invite listeners to act and promise blessings upon those actions.
4. Pray — When others know they are being prayed for, this brings joy, comfort and love.
5. Leave — Allow learners to ponder and apply what they have learned for themselves.
What Christ taught
Five main teachings of the Savior, Elder Bragg taught, are:
1. He taught the importance of priesthood ordinances and sacred covenants.
2. Christ taught that the spirit of contention is of the devil.
3. He taught pure doctrine — specifically the doctrine of Christ and how to come unto Him and build one’s life on Him so he or she will prevail over this world.
4. The Savior taught hard truths about discipleship.
5. He taught of the gathering of Israel and the need to minister constantly without being judgmental to help in the gathering.
In conclusion, Elder Bragg bore his testimony of Jesus Christ as the Great Master, Teacher, Leader and Follower. He said, “His leadership lessons will help you be a better spouse, parent, coach, supervisor, friend, employee, teammate, physician, financial planner, missionary, neurosurgeon or any other opportunity to interact with and lift others.”