Book Review – The Conviction to Lead by Al Mohler

Title: The Conviction to Lead:  25 Principles for Leadership that Matters
Author: Albert Mohler
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Publishing Year: 2012
Pages: 224
My Rating: 5 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)

There are certainly no shortage of books about leadership.  Yet, in my few short years on earth, I’ve learned that whenever Al Mohler decides to address an issue, I need to pay attention.  So, what does Dr. Mohler add to our public discourse on leadership?  In a word – practicality.    In this book, not only are we given philosophy and theology, but are given a huge dose of practicality.  The 25 lessons learned in this book would be helpful for anyone in a leadership position whether it be a teacher, pastor, businessman, fast food restaurant shift manager or the regional manager of a mid-range paper company.

The premise of this book is nothing short of revolutionary, at least that is the claim Mohler makes.  He suggests that this book will “fundamentally change the way leadership is understood and practiced.” (page 44 – Kindle version, as are the rest of the page numbers referenced in this review)

What sets this book apart is Mohler’s assertion that there are two basic groups into which modern leadership is seemingly divided:  believers and leaders.  Believers are those who are passionate about their beliefs and have given themselves over to a passionate perusal to explore, learn and defend these beliefs.  Their problem is they are not read to lead.  They possess great information, but lack the skill necessary to lead others in their field.  On the other hand you have the leaders.  They are passionate about their positions and have a strong desire to get things done and make things happen.  They are men of vision, goal and strategy.  However, the problem this group faces is they oftentimes lack an inward center – core beliefs.  So, the purpose of this book is to merge these two concepts together to create skilled leaders driven by moral truth and conviction founded on the Word of God.

“This book is written with the concern that far too much of what passes for leadership today is mere management.  Without convictions you might be able to manage, but you cannot really lead.” (page 203)

“But the starting point for Christian leadership is not the leader but the eternal truths that God has revealed to us – the truths that allow the world to make sense, frame our understandings, and propel us to action.” (pages 212-213)

The rest of the book is filled with a treasure of practical wisdom.  Let me share with you a few gems:

“The most important truths come alive through stories, and faithful leadership is inseparable from the power and stewardship of that story.  The excellent leader is inseparable knows how to lead out of the power of the narrative that frames the identity and mission of the people he will lead, and the leader knows how to put his own story into service for the sake of the larger story.” (page 326)

“We have to be faithful to the discipleship of the mind before we can expect faithfulness and maturity in those we lead.” (page 462)

“Like everyone else, leaders operate out of capacities such as instinct, intuition and habit.  But what sets the leader apart is the commitment to bring these very things under control of active intellect and right thinking.  When an organization is run well, the average person… might assume the leader has some secret and almost magical sense of direction and purpose – an instinct or inner voice that seems always to guide with accuracy.  In truth, this inner voice is the achievement of devoted thinking, not a gift that simply falls into the leader’s lap.” (pages 586-2465)

“If the leader has to look for a message, his leadership is doomed.  Leaders communicate because they cannot not communicate, and their message flows out of them as naturally as a geyser releases its energy.  This is the essence of convictional leadership.” (page 950)

“Leadership requires a constant flow of intelligence, ideas, and information.  There is no way to gain the basics of leadership without reading.” (page 1018)

“..With many people assuming that any use of the power of office to force change will be resisted.  But, this is a false assumption.  The truth is that people within an organization feel most secure when their leader leads.” (page 1175)

“Leaders who leave all management to others are no longer leading the organization, no matter how they may flatter themselves by pretending otherwise.” (page 1213)

“Keep this firmly in mind:  Never apologize for having a message and for wanting that message to receive the widest possible coverage and exposure.  That is why you are leading.  You are the steward of your beliefs and convictions that your organization represents and to which you have committed your life.” (page 1717)

“Observers of leadership have long noted that leaders often overestimate what can be accomplished in a single year, but underestimate what can be accomplished in a decade.” (page 2124)

This book is well worth the purchase and I would highly recommend it.  There much I have personally gleaned from these pages which have aided me as I contemplate my own leadership in light of its effectiveness and purpose.

You can purchase the book here.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.



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