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The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters

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Change the Way You Think About Leadership

At the age of thirty-three, Dr. Albert Mohler became the youngest president in the 153-year history of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was the driving force behind the school's transformation into a thriving institution with an international reputation characterized by a passionate conviction for truth. In the process he became one of the most important and prominent Christian voices in contemporary culture.

What will it take to transform your leadership?

Effective leaders need more than administrative skills and vision. They need to be able to change the hearts and minds of those they lead. Leadership like this requires passionate beliefs that can stand up to pressure from without and within.

Now for the first time, Dr. Mohler reveals 25 principles to crystallize your convictions, revolutionizing your thinking, your decision-making, your communication, and ultimately those you lead.

224 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2012

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About the author

R. Albert Mohler Jr.

114 books381 followers
Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

Dr. Mohler has been recognized by such influential publications as Time and Christianity Today as a leader among American evangelicals. In fact, Time.com called him the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.”

In addition to his presidential duties, Dr. Mohler hosts two programs: “The Briefing,” a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview; and “Thinking in Public,” a series of conversations with the day’s leading thinkers. He also writes a popular blog and a regular commentary on moral, cultural and theological issues. All of these can be accessed through Dr. Mohler’s website, www.AlbertMohler.com. Called “an articulate voice for conservative Christianity at large” by The Chicago Tribune, Dr. Mohler’s mission is to address contemporary issues from a consistent and explicit Christian worldview.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 338 reviews
Profile Image for Peter Jones.
563 reviews90 followers
July 10, 2015
Also read back in 2013. Still the best book on leadership I have ever read. It needs to be revisited every couple of years. Here are the things I liked.

First, it is comprehensive, covering internal things, such as honesty, as well as external things such as managing and dealing with the media. There is no topic associated with leadership that he doesn't touch on. But it is important to note that while much applies to pastors, it was not written for pastors.

Second, he frequently encourages men to make sure they are called to leadership. Often he will say something like, "if you cannot do x then don't lead."

Third, his chapter on power was great. He does not say, "Power is bad." He states the obvious; leadership is about power. We are stewards of that power.
Fourth, the book is clear. The chapters are a good length and well organized.

Sixth, he encourages leaders to lead. So often in Christian circles men who try to lead are accused of pride. He says that God put you there so lead. Push your message. Push your organization. Do not be afraid to be in front.

Seventh, his chapters on time and credibility were very convicting. How much time do I waste? How much credibility have I lost by failing to follow through.

Finally, his chapter on the digital world and social media was a well-balanced encouragement to use all the resources at your disposal to get the truth out there.

A great book!
Profile Image for John Gardner.
207 reviews20 followers
April 3, 2017
I have a confession to make: I really don't like leadership books.

Don't get me wrong. I read books on leadership frequently, and I understand the value that good books on leadership add to my own ability to lead. In many ways, leadership is a very pragmatic subject, and I've greatly benefited from many of the ones I've read. I've just never actually enjoyed one before.

Until now.

Mohler makes no effort to hide the fact that The Conviction to Lead is categorically different from the plethora of other leadership books that have flooded Christian and secular bookstores over the last few decades. His first sentence lays it all on the line: "Let me warn you right up front—my goal is to change the way you think about leadership. I do not aim merely to add one voice to the conversation; I want to fundamentally change the way leadership is understood and practiced."

This book approaches a problem which Mohler sees in today's evangelical culture. The church, he says, seems to be increasingly divided between two groups: "Leaders" and "Believers." That is to say, today's churches and seminaries are filled with those who are gifted and driven to lead well, and with those who care deeply and passionately about theology, but there is not necessarily a lot of overlap between the two. Mohler thinks there should be. This book is his effort to bridge that gap, "to redefine Christian leadership so that it is inseparable from passionately held beliefs, and to motivate those who are deeply committed to truth to be ready for leadership."

Leadership books speak often of different types of intelligence, building on Howard Gardner's (no relation!) theory of  multiple intelligences . Often there will be some sort of personality profile test (or "spiritual gifts inventory" in the churchy lingo) to help leaders best use their natural abilities to discover their own leadership style. This can be very useful, and Mohler adds his own twist here. He suggests another type of intelligence which strong leaders require: "Convictional Intelligence."

"Convictional intelligence emerges when the leader increases in knowledge and in strength of belief. It deepens over time, with the seasoning and maturing of knowledge that grows out of faithful learning, Christian thinking, and biblical reasoning." As leaders become committed to studying what they believe, the convictions that develop from these beliefs inform the direction in which they are leading. In turn, these convictions drive the passionate student to lead others down the same path. It's a powerful cycle.

Mohler's arguments are quite compelling, and very attractive. This book resonated with me, largely because it gives voice to much of my own experience. The times at which I feel I have developed most as a leader have been the times at which I was most diligently studying, learning, and forming strong convictions about everything from theology to philosophy to history and every other form of knowledge. Usually, these have been times when I myself have been led by a man of very strong conviction. So what Mohler is saying here sounded quite familiar, though I had never made the connection before.

That said, I have MUCH yet to learn about leading well, both in terms of leadership philosophy and practical concerns. This book deals with both. Mohler instructs those who read his book to seek to grow by following 25 principles, with a healthy mix of the abstract and the pragmatic. These principles also cover the entire length of a leader's life, from how to develop the conviction and skills necessary to lead in the first place, to how to leave a legacy for future generations to continue following once the leader is gone.

Some chapters cover areas in which I am already strong (e.g., "Leaders Are Readers"), while others cover areas of personal weakness. You might say these chapters were particularly convicting, which is, of course, something to be expected in a book seeking to develop "the conviction to lead." For me, the chapter I need to read over and over again in my current stage of leadership development is "Leaders Are Communicators." For you it may be another area of weakness which must become a strength, but I believe every leader (or potential leader, i.e., all Christians) will benefit greatly from this book.

I don't often recommend leadership books, but I hope you'll read this one. Buy it here .
Profile Image for Brandon Lehr.
38 reviews3 followers
December 19, 2012
There are an innumerable number of books on the subject of leadership. Everyone wants to be a leader and everyone is willing to tell you how to do it.

So how is this book any different?
First off, it is written by Albert Mohler, who is one of the clearest and most insightful voices in all of Christendom. If you aren't currently subscribed to his blog, you should be. He is also the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is responsible for leading the institution back to its founding principals. To make a long story short: He is the epitome of the Christian Leader.

So is this book is only for leaders or those who desire to be?
No. There are nuggets of wisdom there in that will challenge or inspire everyone. Besides, everyone leads something. I was challenged most in the area of being a father, the leader of the family. While some chapters do deal more with those who are business or organizational leaders, the majority easily translate to all who aim to be good stewards in their Christian life.

The point Mohler aims to drive home is that leaders need to lead through their convictions. Hence the title! Rather than only focusing on material and financial goals, he challenges us to first construct our vision as a purpose as opposed to a plan. Asking ourselves "Why we are here?" instead of "What are we doing?"

Once we have established a purpose, the next step is to allow our beliefs to lead our actions. Often times there are many ways to achieve a desired result, but does it matter how we get there? Our beliefs will guide which actions we take. As Christians we need to lead by our convictions, beliefs, and morality. Even if plans and situations change, the shared convictions of the organization should remain.

These initial points are carried on and expanded throughout the rest of the book, and they really got me thinking. As the leader of my family, do I have a purpose, a vision? Am I leading and processing everything in accordance with my convictions? Have I shared these with my family so that we may be united in purpose? Tough questions indeed.

If you find yourself being drawn towards the leadership shelf at your local bookstore, make The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters the one you choose.

I'd like to thank Bethany House Publishers for sending me this free copy for review.
Profile Image for Kristopher Schaal.
113 reviews3 followers
July 3, 2017
I enjoyed this book from the moment I started reading, and never tired of it till I put it down. Excellent; and ambitious as its author. Mohler begins, “I want to fundamentally change the way leadership is understood and practiced” (15). How? By emphasizing the centrality of conviction to biblical leadership. And who better to write on the topic? Another fitting subtitle for this book would be, “How to Be Like Al Mohler.” But that’s okay, because many of us appreciate what Mohler has accomplished and are eager to learn from him. I guess that’s why he wrote this book.

Here are my top 21 take-away’s, ranked from least to most significant.

1. Learn how to invite good feedback. You can’t rely on the comments you receive afterwards. People will often tell you that they enjoyed your speech when they aren’t sure why it mattered (130).
2. The wise leader understands that he is not indispensable. “They are going to put you in a box… and put the box in the ground, and throw dirt on your face, and then go back to the church and eat potato salad” (203).
3. Leadership is stewardship. Leaders are the stewards of “human lives and their welfare,” “time and opportunity,” “assets and resources,” “energy and attention,” “reputation and legacy,” and “truth and teaching” (137-138).
4. “Generous, self-deprecating humor is a gift that leaders can give to the people they serve” (155).
5. Great leaders are not afraid to face difficult facts. Mohler says, “The conscious denial of reality is a central danger of leadership…. History is filled with generals who refused to admit they had been out-maneuvered, captains who refused to admit they were lost, and CEOs who refused to admit no one was buying their products (61).” One of the ways that leaders build trust is by making clear to their followers that they will be accountable to the facts.
6. Leaders are writers. “The only way to become a better writer is to read and write as much as possible” (169). “The writer’s most important equipment is a room with a door and the writer’s determination to close that door” (171). Don’t be a perfectionistic writer. You will always be able to find something that you wish you could improve, even after your book or article is published. Meet your deadlines.
7. Leadership is much more than holding a position. But positions help in two ways. First, they allow the leader to speak for the organization. Second, they allow the leader to “force change within the organization” (110).
8. When it comes to leadership, EQ is more important than IQ (30).
9. Reputation is very important. Good leaders know that their legacies depend upon their own reputations and the reputations of those whom they lead (138).
10. One of the leader’s primary goals is to perpetuate his convictions. “The idiosyncrasies of the leader will not (or should not) remain. The plans and visions of the leader will be outdated soon after his burial. The style of the leader is a personal signature. Your tastes will not be the tastes of the future. Yet none of this really matters. What matters is that the convictions survive” (201). In order to perpetuate his convictions, a great leader documents and communicates them as much as possible. He also hires and promotes on the basis of convictional alignment. “Anyone with reservations [about your convictional stance] should not serve in a leadership position. To allow this is to plant the seeds of your organization’s destruction” (210). “In a healthy organization, the younger members are even more openly and deeply committed to the group’s convictions than the older members are” (210). Finally, the leader perpetuates his convictions by driving them into the organization’s DNA. “The leader should seek to drive his convictions and beliefs so deeply into the culture and ethos of the organization that alteration or abandonment is seen as betrayal” (210). In order to take the organization in a different direction after you resign, the board must be forced to contradict everything you have taught, stood for, and modeled. Mohler is quite clear: “If my successor attempts to subvert the truths upon which this institution is established, I will do everything I can to stop that subversion, even if it means haunting my successor from the grave, by memory” (211). “If all goes well, our successors will outperform us and reach heights we could only dream of” (202).
11. “The leaders who make the biggest differences are those with long tenure. Great impact requires a lengthy term of leadership” (191). Long-haul commitment is what enables leaders to weather individual storms. “Some days, you just have to live with the fact that, if today is all there is, the folks who hired me would never hire me again. As a matter of fact, if today is all there is, I wouldn’t hire myself” (195). Many leaders are guilty of “building a long resume but casting no shadow…. They prove the awful truth that you can serve in a leadership position and never really lead” (196).
12. One of the most significant ways to lead is by shaping the worldview of your followers. Mohler says, “The leader must shape the way followers think about what is real, what is true, what is right, and what is important (47; emphasis his).” The leader must shape the priorities of his followers, since priorities as well as values determine direction. As the leader continues to emphasize worldview, those who buy in will gravitate to the center of the organization, and those who don’t will move to the periphery. This process is natural and healthy.
13. “Leaders are distinguished by ‘their tender loving care of time’” (184, attributed to Peter Drucker). It may be helpful to analyze how you spend your time, since leaders are often distracted by peripheral matters. One of the ways that leaders waste time is by being too available. “The expectation of constant availability will defeat any leader and render leadership ineffective” (187). “The effective leader learns how to be available at the right times—the times that will make the most difference” (186). When are those times? Since, “the essence of leadership is the transformation of conviction into corporate action,” the “right times” are “the times that reinforce the transfer of conviction into the mission of the organization” (187). “Institutions and organizations don’t actually need a president every day. But on the days a president is needed, it is because only the president can make the difference between success and failure” (194-195). “Followers rarely know what the burden of leadership requires, but then can and do sense whether or not the leader is ready when duty calls, confident in plan and purpose, and anchored in conviction and passionate about the mission. They may not understand everything the leader does with his time, but they will be able to tell if the leader stewards it well” (187). For the Christian leader, “knowledge of eternity affirms that our lives mean more than ire time can contain. Our earthly lives must be measured by an impact that is eternal rather than merely temporal” (186).
14. Much of what is referred to as leadership is actually management. Leadership is not less than management, but is also much more. A manager can take his particular skill set and manage any number of things. A leader is driven by his beliefs to a particular course of action. “Managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing” (117, credited to Warren Bennis). If you don’t feel strongly about the organization you’re leading, quit and get a new job (39).
15. It is important for leaders to be passionate. Mohler says, “Passionate leaders attract and motivate passionate followers. Together, they build passionate movements” (54).
16. Use media to get your message across. “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” (158). However, if you want to be heard, you’ve got to be way more than interesting. Roger Ailes rated his guest appearances “boring,” “okay,” “interesting,” “memorable,” or “book him back” (163). If you want to become more interesting, focus on becoming a better conversationalist. As far as types of media to use, be active online; after all, “the digital world is the real world” (175). Post on social media, and make sure to have a blog (179). However, don’t overlook print media, either. “More people will read your newspaper column than your blog, even if they read the newspaper online” (160). When it comes to your website, “offer good content, and visitors will come back. Let it grow old, and they will go elsewhere. This means a loss for your organization and its mission” (178). If you ever face a reporter, be clear, concise, honest (lying inevitably brings disgrace on you, the organization, and the Lord), and bold. Be careful not to use Christian jargon.
17. “The movements that make history are those that breed loyalty, and the leaders who want to see that kind of loyalty must first demonstrate it themselves” (153). Your followers must know that you are committed to the organization and not just looking for the next big opportunity. Optimally, you should make a public commitment to stay (191). “Do [your followers] see you living with less commitment to the mission that you are asking them to have? Congratulations, you just undermined your loyalty” (153). Another way to build loyalty is to celebrate the accomplishments of others. “When difficulty comes, and it will come, loyalty is what we all give to each other and to the cause we serve” (153).
18. The primary task of leadership is communication. Words matter, so leaders must be eloquent. Churchill said that his people were like lions; however, “I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar” (126). Leaders must “give the roar.” And they must repeat themselves often. (Ronald Regan had only one speech.) “When a true leader shows up, we already know what he is going to say” (97). Naturally, he will zoom in and out and highlight particular aspects of his message at different times. However, “the entire body of conviction arrives when the leader arrives” (129).
19. Leadership is narrative (37). “The excellent leader is the steward-in-chief of [the organization’s] story, and the leader’s chief responsibilities flow from this stewardship. Leadership comes down to protecting the story, bringing others into the story, and keeping the organization accountable to the story. The leader tells the story over and over again, refining it, updating it, and driving it home” (38). During WWII, Hitler and Churchill were both telling stories. “And the future of the human race depended on the right story prevailing” (39). “Leadership that matters grows out of the leader’s own belief that the story is true, that it matters, and that it must both expand and continue…. The leader must articulate how he came to be a part of this story, how it came to possess him, and why he now gives himself to it” (39). For the Christian, the most important story is the story of history from the Garden to the Cross to the New Jerusalem. The Christian leader must be able to articulate the way in which his organization’s story fits into The Story (40-42). In addition, we must “redefine public speaking as storytelling” (127).
20. Credibility is essential to leadership. Credibility is gained through character, competence, and a history of good decision-making. “A good leader stands out when character is matched by competence and the central virtue of knowing what to do” (83). Mohler says, “Leadership is about a sense of direction and purpose, and a competence that puts the room at ease…. If someone else possesses those fundamental competencies, that person is the leader, not you. If no one in the room possesses those competencies, the organization faces imminent disaster” (84-85). However, credibility can be earned or regained. For instance, Winston Churchill regained his credibility prior to WW2 precisely when the rest of the English political establishment lost theirs.
21. Leaders lead by making decisions (32). Decisions are so important that a bad decision is often better than no decision at all (142). The effective leader develops habits of thinking that allow him to make some decisions “intuitively” without having to agonize over them (34-35). However, some decisions require much more work. Great leaders refuse to stop working and make a decision until the facts make sense (144). Some decisions should not even be considered, because they contradict conviction (143). When great leaders do make decisions, they walk people through the facts and alternatives, and show them why a particular choice is the best one. Good leaders must make the right decision almost all of the time. If they don’t, they have failed. 60% is not a passing grade when it comes to leadership and decision-making.
Profile Image for Brian Watson.
246 reviews14 followers
January 30, 2014
Maybe three stars is a bit overly critical, but I expected something better. Mohler states at the outset that he wants to change how the reader thinks about leadership. I don't think he accomplished that in me, but that is not to say his book isn't useful or wise. The main theme is that leaders need to lead according to their convictions. Mohler devotes a short chapter (usually seven pages) to each of 25 leadership principles. Each bit of advice was fine, but there are two main critiques I would make: one, the structure of the book was rather haphazard (the chapters didn't flow in logical order--it was as if each chapter was written in a vacuum and intended to be read that way); and, two, each principle lacked specific examples and applications. If Mohler had ordered the chapters in a more compelling way and if each chapter had greater detail, the book would have been a lot better.
Profile Image for Ryan Trzeciak.
46 reviews4 followers
August 20, 2020
Chapter one identifies two cultures within modern Christian leadership. There are the believers and then there are the leaders. Believers tend to have strong convictions but lack leadership ability. Leaders tend to possess the skill but lack the foundational beliefs that give substance to their leadership. In this book, Mohler seeks to wed the two by creating leaders infused with conviction and instilling those with conviction with the ability to lead. Each one of the 25 principles makes the reader look beyond themselves and their task and forces one to think about influence and legacy through numerous helpful stories and personal examples. The only critique would be that it lacks more practical steps on how to bring these principles to life. Highly recommended for any leader, especially one who is engaged in Christian ministry.
Profile Image for Drew Miller.
56 reviews5 followers
July 1, 2015
I'm not one to read lots of leadership books as it's just not something that I'm drawn to. I did find this book helpful in many ways. Mohler not only talked about what it looks like to be a leader but also had plenty of application to help you get there. I found the chapters on reading, writing, time, and social media/digital age most helpful.
Profile Image for Barnabas Piper.
Author 11 books935 followers
May 15, 2013
Really more of a 4.5 star book. The 25 short chapters is an ideal format because it keeps everything concise. The insights are strong. The practical and visionary aspects are equally balanced and strong. I really appreciated this book.
Profile Image for Nathan Schneider.
194 reviews
July 18, 2015
Great resource for any leader. Mohler combines his experience in training the next generation of Christian leaders with the best of what you can find in other leadership genres. The difference for Mohler, though, is leadership grounded in truth.
Profile Image for Brian Pate.
354 reviews18 followers
August 4, 2014
One of the best books on leadership. I especially enjoyed the chapters on "leaders are thinkers" (ch. 7) and leaders are writers (ch. 20).
Profile Image for Jesvin Jose.
236 reviews13 followers
April 7, 2019
Al Mohler became the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at age 33 and is a prominent voice in contemporary culture. His goal in “A conviction to lead” is to change the way we think about and practice leadership. Does he succeed? Well, I think mostly yes!

Mohler’s central theme is that leadership should be driven by conviction (right beliefs that lead to action). Without such conviction, we might be able to manage well, but not truly lead. At the heart of such leadership, is what Mohler calls “convictional intelligence” – something that is developed by deeply diving into the truth of Scripture. Such convictional intelligence, he argues, comes by the ordinary means of grace.

Further, a leader driven by conviction understands and shapes the worldview of his followers; his passionate beliefs draw passionate followers; his careful attention to thinking sets him apart; his masterful teaching changes the way his followers see the world; he is a man of character and credibility; he is also a communicator, reader, steward, decision maker and writer. Importantly, his leadership will leave an enduring legacy. I did appreciate the way Mohler weaves his story into many chapters, which in my assessment is the book’s greatest strength. I also appreciated his chapter on how leaders must face the realities of the digital world.

While each of the 25 short chapters is packed with incredible insight, I have one minor critique: Even though the book is generally set in the context of Scripture, I think it is missing concrete examples and applications from Scripture. More space is devoted to examples from history and politics (especially British and American politics). While all truth is God’s truth, not all principles from the secular world are necessarily approved by God. I did not think Mohler made incorrect applications from history, but I thought the book would have been stronger if it included more of Biblical principles and applications.

That critique aside, I think this is an important book packed with practical wisdom and oozing with passion to inspire today’s leader, both in the church and at the workplace. I do recommend it if you are looking for a helpful starting point on leadership!
Profile Image for Adam Nesmith.
11 reviews1 follower
June 3, 2023
A meh book in my opinion. The best idea I gleaned from it (and it’s in the title) was “you must lead from conviction”. After you get through that point, the rest of the book is a rehash of every other leadership principle you’ve probably already heard (“leaders are readers,” “leaders need to think about their legacy” etc.) I thought he had some good insights on public speaking, but besides that, there isn’t much new or exciting here.
Profile Image for Drake.
293 reviews16 followers
July 21, 2019
Chock-full of sound wisdom for Christians aspiring to positions of leadership.
Profile Image for Tim Mickey.
8 reviews1 follower
June 29, 2023
Very Helpful! I will probably read this again in the future.
14 reviews
March 21, 2013
Dr. Albert Mohler is qualified to speak authoritatively on many subjects, but there are perhaps few he is more qualified to address than leadership. For that reason when he writes a book on leadership it is safe to assume that your time will be well spent reading it. The Conviction to Lead is precisely that; a book on leadership written by Dr. Mohler. While it is a book on leadership its design is to be something other than one more volume to add to the mountainous pile of works dedicated to the perfection of leadership skills. “I want to fundamentally change the way leadership is understood and practiced,” proclaims Dr. Mohler in the opening paragraph of this book. What this book then promises to be is a seasoned leader’s attempt to change our understanding and application of leadership at a foundational level.

One would assume that after all the books, lectures, interviews, and conferences aimed at perfecting the art of leadership that the demand for leadership resources would be dwindling, but in fact the exact opposite seems to be true. The experts keep writing books, and the would-be leaders keep buying them. Why haven’t we all reached the peak of leadership refinement? What’s the problem? “The problem is a lack of attention to what leaders believe and why this is central,” Dr. Mohler concludes (italics in original). The contention of this book is that leaders are failing to lead because they have no passion about the fundamental beliefs of those they are seeking to lead, or as the title suggests, they lack conviction. What we are experiencing today in churches, universities, businesses, and broader movements is leaders who are not believers and believers who cannot lead. So, Mohler’s hope for his book is to “redefine Christian leadership so that it is inseparable from passionately held beliefs, and to motivate those who are deeply committed to truth to be ready for leadership.”

This is a vital perspective on leadership especially for Christians looking to set themselves apart from the lemming like mentality of the broader culture. It would be an exaggeration to suggest that the church is facing unprecedented opposition, but it is no stretch to say that opposition to the historically held beliefs of the church is escalating rapidly. Those who lack conviction about the truth of God’s Word will be swept away by the pressure of cultural conformity. At the same time those with conviction but no determination to lead in the fight against the erosion of our beliefs will be of little consequence. If ever there was a time to sound the call for leaders to be fueled by conviction, and for true believers to be infused with the skills and determination to lead it is now.

Mohler’s book does that, and does it well. He is convincing in his argument that the great flaws of today’s leader are a lack of conviction or a misplaced conviction. His call to identify ourselves in the story of God’s unfolding plan of redemption and to do so with authenticity is compelling. Using death to set the importance of leading from our convictions in high relief is quite effective. Only when we drive our convictions deep into the heart of our organization or movement does our contribution live on after our death.
However, the quality of this book’s chapters varied widely from very good to almost completely useless. In general I believe the beginning and ending of the book to be the essential parts, specifically chapters 1-6 and 23-25. The rest in the middle read to me like a series of blog posts turned book chapters, which draw as their source material varying degrees of Scripture, Peter Drucker, and Dr. Mohler’s personal experience. There are certainly helpful insights to be gleaned even from the middle portion of the book, but they were hardly unique and certainly would not “fundamentally change the way leadership is understood and practiced.”

I would recommend this book. The opening and closing sections are remarkable. However, I would not hype this book. The middle is much of the same old stuff when it comes to books on leadership.
Profile Image for Kevin McCarthy.
266 reviews21 followers
April 17, 2020
Really enjoyed Mohler’s emphasis on language—on the importance that leaders be writers, readers, and communicators. Didn’t care much for the tendency to praise Republican presidents for great leadership and criticize Democratic presidents for poor leadership. Also didn’t care much for the implicit, unspoken assumption throughout the book that women aren’t capable of much leadership. Who knew? Mohler, I guess. So all in all, a mixed bag for me.
Profile Image for Joe Valenti.
356 reviews4 followers
September 2, 2013
Dr. mohler has done an excellent job assisting and empowering the Christian leader in his newest book, The Conviction to Lead. The goal and through line of the book is, just as the title indicates, conviction. Mohler agrues that conviction is the overarching trait that trumps all other leadership skills. A leader without conviction will fail. The thing that I really appreciate about this book is that it is very practical. There are no pie in the sky ideas. Rather Mohler offers clear and concise chapters outlining very important traits that a leader must have including intelligence, knowledge of worldviews, ability to teach, credibility, and writing skill. He also deals with more modern ideas like dealing with media, the internet, and use of social media. Atogether, the advice is practical and sound.

It is important to note that this book is not pastoral. There is little in this book about pastoring, but, then again, it's not a pastoral care book. It is important to note this because the danger is that pastors will take too much too quickly, try to put a bunch of things in place, and tell all of the people who do not share his convictions to hit the road. Take this book for what it is, an excellent book on Christian leadership. As Mohler mentions, very little can be changed in a year. These tactics take time, effort, and faithfulness to master.
Profile Image for Tom Brennan.
Author 4 books69 followers
August 13, 2021
Every once in a while you pick up a book that you hope will be good and find it to be even better than you hoped. Such is the case with this one. I have my theological differences with the author, and they are substantial, but on this subject he has both lived and written an excellent book.

So often, it seems, books on leadership are merely collections of disparate/unconnected essays packaged together to masquerade as a book. Mohler easily could have done that, pulling from decades worth of other writing. But he didn't. He wrote a book that matches the title, logically and intellectually connecting like a thread through each of his 25 chapters. And what very good chapters they are, for the most part. Each one a well thought through discussion of one particular aspect of ministry leadership.

At my age, I rarely read books again. I do not have time in my life to read all the books I want, let alone reread them. But I will reread this one. Further, I suspect I will incorporate it in teaching/mentoring others. This is a balanced, scriptural book on an important topic clearly written by a man who has lived what he writes. If you are looking to study/strengthen your sense of leadership in a Christian ministry I urge you to think your way through it. You will be most edified.
2 reviews
March 4, 2015
At the end of my bookshelf, I have a few books which are so bad I keep them facing backwards. This joins the ranks.
As a daily Bible reading Christian involved deeply in leading others , I wanted to like this book. But it was empty. Empty of spiritual or business value. The stated goal of the book: "...to fundamentally change the way leadership is understood and practiced." Mission Unaccomplished.
I agree with the author's belief that "the last thing the church needs is warmed over business theories decorated with Christian language." Mission accomplished.
It felt like Fox News--straw man arguments and imaginary enemies.
Instead, read Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, by Ruth Barton. You will find real leadership lessons.

Profile Image for Matt Pitts.
598 reviews43 followers
March 19, 2013
This book is solid gold. Though Dr. Mohler is a first-rate preacher, he is even more fundamentally a leader. Leadership is where Mohler has made (and is making) his most enduring mark on the world and in this book we learn how he does it.

The 25 brief chapters throb with the passion and conviction that Mohler embodies and believes is required of all true leaders. Here is wisdom gleaned from Mohler's extensive leadership experience as well as leadership experts and great leaders from history. Reading the chapter titles and subtitles alone is sufficient to taste the clarity that characterizes the whole book.

This is a book I enjoyed reading and anticipate turning to again and again.
Profile Image for James Harmeling.
69 reviews6 followers
June 6, 2020
Excellent work. Like a mechanic, Mohler takes apart the task of leadership and rebuilds the work from the ground up starting with conviction of theology. He makes his case pungently and writes like a leader. Mohler's flaws are limited to his main leadership work: seminary revolution. Not everyone leads something like that. Thus, he is not broad enough to encompass all Christian leadership opportunities. There is a glaring gap on team building and spiritual empowerment (prayer life of leaders). Plus, not all leaders require heavy media involvement to accomplish a work of legacy. Still, I highly recommend this inspiring and well thought out explanation of the 25 traits of good leaders.
218 reviews12 followers
August 1, 2017
Very helpful in some ways (and a little boring in others). I'd give it 3 1/2 stars if I could. This isn't my favorite genre, but Mohler does provide several helpful principles for leadership. The book is very thin on implementation. It's strength is to instruct the reader on what's most important, rather than explain how to do it.

I especially appreciated his insistence on "conviction" as the foundation of leadership (given a chapter of its own, but also repeated throughout the book). And the several chapters on communication (narrative, teaching, reading, writing, speaking) were all good reminders. But his attempt to talk about so many things left a few chapters feeling flat or rushed.
645 reviews6 followers
June 10, 2014
This was the best book I have read on leadership. Only Rumsfeld's Rules comes close in offering aides to an active leader. Mohler tells the reader the the leaders are thinkers,teachers,communicators, readers, managers,decision makers, speakers, and writers. Leaders have character, credibility, moral virtue, passion, and convictions. He or she have intelligence and understands worldviews. As I read this book I was amazed to see how Obama is lacking in the twenty-five skills that Mohler list as necesary for good leadership.
Profile Image for Julio Padilla Mozo.
70 reviews9 followers
May 27, 2020
Lo leí interrumpidamente.

Sé que lo volveré a leer, tomaré notas y aprovecharé la experiencia.

No sé si es mi inexperiencia en libros de liderazgo, pero es de los mejores libros que he leído. Tantas cosas de la vida real. Este libro cumple su propósito, si te encuentras o estás buscando un lugar donde desarrollar el liderazgo.

No tiene pierde.

Si te encuentras en el liderazgo de cualquier organización y constantemente estás siendo invitado a tomar el liderazgo en algo, este libro es para ti.

No te arrepentirás.
16 reviews
May 19, 2017
A clear, hearty read. Full of pithy statements on leadership to stir anyone aspiring to lead well. Mohler's core message is that conviction must fuel, as well as govern, all that a leader does, and leaders can't delegate their convictions. Some indeed lead from conviction, while others "merely hold an office." His reflections on the power of language and the imminence of death were especially noteworthy.
Profile Image for Chad Gray.
6 reviews1 follower
February 23, 2015
One of if not the best book I've read on leadership. It is solid biblically and theoretically, easy to read, and quite practical too. It has definitely motivated me to nail down my convictions and begin to learn how I might better communicate those convictions to those I lead or may lead in the future.
Profile Image for John.
44 reviews2 followers
February 7, 2016
Excellent book on Leadership. Dr. Mohler lays out clear principles of what leadership is and how to apply each of those principles. What is leadership? Al Mohler defines it as, "Leadership is conviction transformed into united action." I highly recommend this book to all men and those especially in positions of leadership.
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