An often neglected trait of leadership is the fine art of persuasion. With the tremendous stress and pressure that leaders feel it is easy for them to become impatient with others. In the scriptures the word forbearance is sometimes uses as an appropriate synonym for persuasion.
Note how it is used in Proverbs 25:15
15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.One of the definitions of Forbear in the Websters 1828 dictionary is “To be patient; to restrain from action or violence”. Patience and restraint allow us to use the gentle art of persuasion in our leadership. I also like how it is used in Ephesians 4:2 “forbearing one another in love”. This clearly resonates with the core principle that leadership is love in action.
President Howard W. Hunter said:
To fully understand this gift of agency and its inestimable worth, it is imperative that we understand that God’s chief way of acting is by persuasion and patience and long-suffering, not by coercion and stark confrontation. He acts by gentle solicitation and by sweet enticement. He always acts with unfailing respect for the freedom and independence that we possess. He wants to help us and pleads for the chance to assist us, but he will not do so in violation of our agency. He loves us too much to do that, and doing so would run counter to his divine character. (Howard W. Hunter, “The Golden Thread of Choice”, October 1989 LDS General Conference)We would become better leaders if we cultivated the trait of persuasion. Often we are tempted, in the urgency of the moment, to coerce, demand, or order those we lead. A soft tongue and long forbearing are more lasting and effective methods of influencing and leading.
For additional insight, consider these cross references:
2 Corinthians 6:3-4
3 Nephi 7:18
2 Nephi 33:1