We are not at a loss for books on the subject of leadership today. It seems that that books are published daily on this subject offering some new insight into this age-old institution. What has been missing from the others has been found in Dr. Al Mohler’s new book, “The Conviction to Lead; 25 Principles for Leadership That Matter.” Dr. Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY writes with heart, honesty, insight, experience, and conviction that is both refreshing and challenging. From the beginning he says, “Let me warn you right up front – my goal is to change the way you think about leadership. I do not aim to merely add one more voice to the conversation; I want to fundamentally change the way leadership is understood and practiced.” As a Southern Baptist pastor, I am familiar with Dr. Mohler’s engaging style of writing. Having read behind him before, I he would offer a much-needed voice in the arena of leadership principle and practice. He did not disappoint.
As he begins the book, Dr. Mohler sets up a contrast of leaders. Calling on his years of experience, he sees most leaders falling into two specific categories; Believers and Leaders. The Believers seek knowledge and are ready to defend what they believe. They often define themselves in terms of what they believe. On the other hand, they lack the skills and abilities to manage and lead an organization effectively. The Leaders are passionate about and consumed with leadership. They know they language, have read all the books, and attended all the seminars. They are eager to see things changed for the better. On the other hand, at their core being, they do not know what they believe fundamentally. As a result, they are easily swayed. Again, Dr. Mohler writes, “My goal is to knock the blocks out from under the current models of leadership and forge a new way. I stake my life on the priority of right beliefs and convictions, and at the same time I want to lead so that those very beliefs are perpetuated in others. If our leaders are not passionately driven by the right beliefs, we are headed for disaster. At the same time, if believers cannot lead, we are headed nowhere.”
From there, Dr. Mohler covers a wide array of topics. In his treatment of leadership, he is sure to cover issues that all leaders face today. Each chapter is relatively short and easy to move through. However, that does mean the chapters are light and void of content. Just the opposite. Dr. Mohler communicates a great deal of information very simply while sufficiently challenging the reader. He envisions leaders as communicators, managers, speakers, stewards, writers, readers, thinkers, and teachers. I personally found many of these chapters to be meaningful and challenging. Chapter Fourteen, Leaders are Managers, was especially helpful to me as a pastor. This chapter enabled me to better see how these are two separate and distinct roles requiring certain skills to be successful at both.
Dr. Mohler has written an excellent book. His heart and passion burst through. “The Conviction to Lead” is not a book you will read once and discard. Instead, it will become one of “those” books that you read over and over. I really enjoyed the fact that this book was not written from a sterile, academic, laboratory setting. Instead, Dr. Mohler writes from the trenches and shares battle-tested principles that have obviously first resonated with him and are now for our benefit. Certainly a book that will remain in the circles of leadership discussion for years to come. Go get this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”