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Employee Experiences

Creating Christlike Leaders

According to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, 96 percent of MBA graduates will enter management roles within 15 years of receiving their degrees. So for most MBA students, learning to be effective and responsible leaders is essential. But at the BYU Marriott School of Business, associate professor of organizational behavior and human resources Taeya Howell prepares MBA students to be Christlike leaders when they enter the workforce.

This past year, Howell updated the MBA leadership class curriculum to reflect the Christ-centered approach of BYU Marriott’s mission. “I revamped the class in two ways,” Howell explains. “One way is to really focus on Christlike leadership. And the other way is to have the class learn tangible skills you need to have as a leader to be really effective in business."

Having worked as an attorney for an organization allows Howell to use real-world situations to teach concepts to students. “When it comes to teaching, having worked for six years with a large organization and seeing how they operated helps me as I am trying to think through some of the different concepts that we talk about in class,” Howell shares.

Taeya Howell and Dan Snow Lead a discussion in a conference room for MBA students.
Howell taught MBA 505: Leadership, a course focused on developing leadership ability by identifying and building upon existing strengths of students.
Photo courtesy of Taeya Howell.

She enjoys that the students in the MBA program can also draw from their own experiences to learn concepts better. “MBA students have a lot of experience,” Howell says. “They have ideas about how to apply course content immediately because they’ve seen things and can make sense of them now that they know the theories behind it.”

Students also learn how important it is to be Christlike in their everyday interactions through studying leadership theories and principles. “At BYU Marriott, our vision is to transform the world through Christlike leadership. How each person leads will be unique, but as we seek to emulate the Savior, we will be more likely to enable and empower others to reach their full potential,” Howell explains.

Howell has leaned on the Christ-centered leadership model developed by the BYU Sorensen Center in her course. “The model emphasizes that we need to consider our relationships with God and His children and seek to express love, honor agency, and invite accountability for ourselves and those we lead.”

Using this model has changed how several of the MBA students view leadership positions in the workplace. “From teaching this class, I have learned to better appreciate that each individual has a unique leadership journey,” Howell explains. “I had a couple of students mention that they didn’t see themselves as leaders because they thought leaders had to be authoritarian. But, when they thought as leading like Christ would lead, they could see themselves being Christlike leaders, and I loved seeing that mentality shift.”

By the end of the course, Howell hopes her students have learned valuable lessons. “I hope that, after having taken this course, MBA students will have identified for themselves how they will act as a Christlike leader in a variety of situations,” she says. “I hope that they will have the skills to inspire, influence, and serve others.”


Written by Kacee Call