J. Reuben Clark Law Society

Founders Day Dinner: Leadership with a small "l"

In honor of the 35th anniversary of the founding of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, President Kim B. Clark, BYU-Idaho, spoke about leadership and learning to alumni, students and faculty at the annual Founders Day Dinner.

"…I hope that tonight you will reflect on your own opportunities to both lead and learn," he said.

President Clark introduced the concept of "leadership with a small "l."

"It's leadership that serves and inspires vision, courage and faith at every level of every kind of organization in society – leadership with a small 'l' ," Clark said.

He continued described leaders with a small "l" as disciple leaders.

"I also believe it's a call to minister in every part of our lives – to lift and love, to develop and strengthen, to guide and teach those we serve with – the Savior as the great exemplar," he said. "This call to leadership is really a call to be a light unto the world."

President Clark concluded his remarks on leadership by emphasized five characteristics of effective leaders with a small "l":


"With all the uncertainty and turbulence in the world, we need leaders with integrity – leaders with strong values who put those values into action with everything they do and take personal responsibility for the actions."


"I believe we need leaders who energize those around them. (Leaders) who make other people energized, lifted. And, they do it by ministering – that is by lifting, strengthening, caring about people, helping people grow and develop."


"I believe effective leaders in the years ahead will inspire trust and confidence in those around them," Clark said. "…One of the things effective leaders do is create meaning for the people in the organizations they serve; they help people find meaning in their daily work."


"Leaders need to see beyond the horizon and help others understand how to get where they're going," he said. "They need to be great communicators and teach in word and deed, especially deed."


"Leaders need to do hard things. They need to set high standards and uphold them. They need to make tough decisions. They need to learn to be unpopular to do the right thing even though the wrong thing is much easier."

In our current world of turmoil and commotion, there is great emphasis placed on leaders. We need strong leaders – leaders with integrity, energy, inspiration, wisdom and courage. We need leaders with a small "l."

Posted: 2008-09-09