I am a fan of Al Mohler for a number of reasons. Dr. Mohler is the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the U.S.” according to Time Magazine, and a man with deep insight into how the Christian worldview relates to current social and political happenings in our world (don’t believe me? Check out his podcast The Briefing: A Daily Analysis of News and Events from a Christian Worldview).
So when I heard about his new book, Convicted to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership that Matters, I was intrigued. Not necessarily because I wanted to read another book on leadership, but because I anticipated a well-written, brain-stimulating, clear explanation of what makes an influential leader, from a man who is one.
Early on, Mohler made his purpose clear:
“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 more voice to the conversation about leadership, I want fundamentally to change the way leadership is understood and practiced.”
Unlike many leadership books, Mohler seeks to change the foundations of leadership, not by offering the best leadership practices and how-tos, but by fundamentally changing the mind and nature of a leader, changing the leader from the inside-out. Quite a lofty goal, indeed.
Mohler tackles 25 important principles as he seeks to change the very nature of a leader. Each principle is handled in its own chapter, with a few interesting ideas presented below:
- Worldview in leadership (Chapter 5) — This chapter argued that the worldview and worldview-casting ability of a leader is imperative to leading and guiding your organization or group, especially as a Christian leader.
- Leading with Passion (Chapter 6) — This chapter makes it clear that if a leader is not passionate about the core beliefs and mission of their organization, they will inevitably burn out and fail as a leader.
- The Digital Leader (Chapter 21) — Mohler describes not only his online presence, but the increasing importance of establishing an online presence in the digital age. Instead of many face-to-face conversations and engaging traditional methods of learning, young people are increasingly turning to Google, YouTube, Podcasts, blogs, and Twitter.
Throughout the 25 chapters examining 25 different traits of influential leaders, Mohler shows the need for these leadership traits and also practical ways to develop each trait.
After reading through this book, I have to admit I was both challenged and encouraged. Several of the topics mentioned by Mohler have challenged my view of leadership and caused me to pursue a more disciplined course to developing my leadership abilities. I appreciated the importance he placed on worldview casting (discussed briefly above) and also the idea that leaders need to set a narrative for their followers–that is remind them they are part of a bigger story.
Strengths: Clarity and readability, insightful and challenging points, length (224 pages)
Weaknesses: Overlap of some of the chapters, no paradigm shifting ideas, a couple of topics do not relate to many leaders (interacting with the media for one)
Although it was a good read, I don’t think Mohler met his goal of “fundamentally changing the way leadership is understood and practiced.” Many of his points are easily found in a number of other volumes and there is nothing revolutionary about his book.
Although he may have fallen short of his lofty goal, he did succeed at making a very good book on leadership that I would recommend to everybody. Beginning leaders will learn a lot from each of the 25 chapters and even seasoned leaders will glean wisdom and be challenged to lead more effectively. If you enjoy Dr. Mohler and want to learn more about his leadership and life experiences (like I did), then this is a great book for you.
I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone and I am sure I will reread it in the future.
Here are some videos of Dr. Mohler talking about his book: