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Friday, December 28, 2012

"The Conviction to Lead" (Albert Mohler)

TITLE: Conviction to Lead, The: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters
AUTHOR: Albert Mohler
PUBLISHER: Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2012, (226 pages).

"Convictions are not merely beliefs we hold; they are those beliefs that hold us in their grip." Thus begins this book of leadership that is grounded on a firm belief and conviction, manifested through 25 principles that leaders need to maintain. This conviction is the center of gravity, the foundation stone, the distinctively Christ-focused and Christ-grounded life. Unabashedly Christian and firmly committed to the evangelical message,  the youngest President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in history shows readers what it means to let our convictions in Christ hold us in our leadership.  He begins by distinguishing the two cultures of modern leadership emphases. The first group are 'Believers' who are passionate in what they believe but are not ready to lead. The second group are 'Leaders' who are passionate about all things leadership, but lack a 'center of gravity in truth.' Mohler attempts to marry the two with a call for a 'conviction to lead.'
  1. True leadership is led by a purpose, not a plan
  2. True leadership is driven by beliefs that lead to action
  3. True leadership develops conviction and trains others to do the same
  4. True leadership draws followers into the bigger story
  5. True leadership shapes the followers' worldview
  6. True leadership that is driven by passionate beliefs will draw passionate followers
  7. True leadership trains one to think like a leader and the follower to do the same
  8. True leadership is an effective leader and master teacher within a learning organization
  9. True leadership leads to greater trust when they live in alignment with their convictions
  10. True leadership happens when character and competence are combined
  11. True leadership  is able to constantly communicate
  12. Leaders that read with conviction
  13. Leaders that recognize the limits of power
  14. Leaders that are managers
  15. Leaders that can give voice to conviction via a message
  16. Leaders that lead as stewards, not of themselves
  17. Leaders that  are able to decide
  18. Leaders whose leadership and moral behaviour are inseparable
  19. Leaders that knows how to deliver a message through the medium
  20. Leaders that knows how to deliver the written word
  21. Leaders that  understand that the digital world is real and the arena they are called to lead in
  22. Leaders that time is the great equalizer of humanity
  23. Leaders that know their goal is to endure
  24. Leaders that understand the mortality of life
  25. Leaders that  leave a lasting legacy.
These 25 leadership principles are individually described, a chapter for each, packed with stories, illustrations, and descriptions that are so Mohler. That is, it is a point blank rattling of strong convictions delivered with clarity and with firm conviction. So convinced is he on this aspect of leadership that he even labels the need to have 'convictional intelligence' which he believes all Christian leaders must have. His chapter on worldview shapers makes me a little wary of manipulative moments at work. To some extent, the forceful language does comes across as telling people to be manipulative of others. For this, I prefer to give Mohler the benefit of the doubt, that conviction does come with with this unfortunate baggage. Like someone who have encountered fresh water in a desert terrain, and is trying all means to get the ignorant traveler to get to the oasis. This is where communications and competence meets character. Building convictions to lead for Christ is a worthy cause.

Mohler tries to cover a lot of ground. He comments on the medium and the message, the digital world and the actual world, the difference between managers and leaders, the need to be teachable and to teach, to communicate well, to read widely, and to live with a single mind, a pure heart, and a dedicated soul to the cause of Christ.  The part about reading interests me a lot. He has some pretty good advice on that department. Those who leads with conviction must also read with conviction. Wow.

For me, reading 25 points of leadership is already a mouthful. That said, personally, I will have preferred the author to condense the points down to something more manageable, maybe 15 at the max. I guess the nature of conviction is not to be easily hemmed in, but to communicate in all possible ways. I suspect too that without any constraint, Mohler may even go above 25 principles. This is what conviction is all about. The most impactful part about this book is perhaps not the contents. It is the style and the manner in which Mohler communicates and harps upon that brings the plain word 'conviction' alive with colour and with power.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Bethany House Publishers without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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