Strong Leadership Development Systems

Book Recommendation:  The Conviction to Lead by Albert MohlerBethany House Publishers 2012

In my previous posts I had the privilege to highlight the reality of the need for proper character development in Christ in order to lead in healthy ways.  In this short offering, I want to present the idea of the necessity of conviction in order to lead well.  Conviction in the right beliefs has a power of its own that will not be stopped especially if the Lord is in the center of the conviction.  In one of my courses we tackle the topic of personal values.  We work through the idea of contrasting actual values from aspirational values.  Actual values can be measured by your actual behaviors.  Look at your checkbook and you can see what you value.  Whatever it is that you give your time to you value.  On the other hand, aspirational values lack conviction.  I ask students, “Who believes the Bible is our only rule of faith and practice for life?”  Every one raises their hands.  Then I ask if they read the Bible daily and only a few hands go up.  That is an aspirational value in that people want to believe that they value the word of God, but it is not a real value because it lacks conviction that determines their behavior.

How about another interesting example?  America is becoming a very unprincipled nation.  I ask students what they would literally kill for.  (I can hear some readers ask…are you really a Christian pastor?)  The normal response is usually along the lines of self-defense.  Then I clarify my question.  “What will you kill for in the name of principle? No one usually responds.  I ask students about the meaning of July 4th celebrations.  The answer I usually receive is that we are celebrating America’s independence from England in 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  I ask them to plough deeper.  What was the war about?  They answer that the war was about the principle of no taxation without proper representation in government.  I conclude highlighting the fact that if our founding fathers had not been principled enough to have the conviction to go to war with England and shed blood, we would not be celebrating fireworks, hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill at 4th of July celebrations.

Conviction in the leader is like low end torque of a tractor pulling a sixteen row plough in spring during planting season and the field is wet.  Conviction in the leader is like having tug of war with your dog and you each have one end of rope contesting for dominance.  Conviction is the man or a woman who will not be moved off of ultimate loyalties like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who stood before Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon and in the face of a fiery furnace and declared, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to rescue us from your hand, O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”  That is conviction.

I want to encourage you to buy Albert Mohler’s book The Conviction to Lead that is enhancing my growth in leadership.  Here are the chapter headings to whet your appetite:

  1. The Conviction to Lead: (True leadership Starts with a Purpose, Not a Plan)
  2. Leading is Believing: (The Leader is driven by Beliefs That Lead to Action)
  3. Convictional Intelligence: (The Leader Develops the Capacity to Think in Convictional Terms and Leads Followers to Do the Same)
  4. Leadership is Narrative: (The Leader Draws Followers Into a Story That Frames All of Life)
  5. Leaders Understand Worldviews: (The Leader Shapes the Worldview of Followers)
  6. The Passion to Lead:  (Passionate Leaders Driven by Passionate Beliefs Draw Passionate Followers)
  7. Leaders Are Thinkers: (Leadership Begins When You Learn to Think Like a Leader, and Leadership Is Not Achieved Until Followers Learn to Think As Well)
  8. Leaders Are Teachers: (The Effective Leader Is the Master Teacher Within a Learning Organization)
  9. Leadership Is All About Character: (Leaders Are Trusted When Their Lives Are in Alignment With Their Convictions)
  10. Leadership and Credibility:  (Leadership Happens When Character and Competencies Are Combined)
  11. Leaders Are Communicators: (The Leader’s Most Essential Skill Is the Ability to Communicate…Over and Over Again)
  12. Leaders Are Readers: (When You Find a Leader, You Find a Reader, and For Good Reason)
  13. The Leader and Power: (The Faithful Leader Knows That Power Is Never an End in Itself)
  14. Leaders Are Managers: (Not all Managers Are Leaders, but ALL Leaders Are Managers)
  15. Leaders Are Speakers: (Leaders Give Voice to Conviction and Mobilize Hearts and Minds With a Message)
  16. Leadership as Stewardship: (Leaders Never Lead for Themselves; They Are Stewards in Service of Another)
  17. The Leader as Decision Maker: (Organizations Expect Many Things From Leaders, Most of All the Trusted Ability to Decide)
  18. The Moral Virtues of Leadership: (Leadership and Morality Are Inseparable)
  19. The Leader and the Media: (The Medium Is Not the Message, You Are – and the Leader Must Know How to Deliver That Message)
  20. The Leader as Writer: (The Written Word Remains One of the Most Powerful Ways to Lead, so Leaders Write)
  21. The Digital Leader: (Leaders Understand That the Digital World Is a Real World – a World in Which They Are Called to Lead)
  22. The Leader and Time: (Leaders Know That Time Is the Great Equalizer of Humanity)
  23. The Leadership That Endures:  (The Leader’s Goal Is Not Only to Last But to Endure)
  24. The Leader and Death: (Mortality Frames the Horizon of Leadership)
  25. The Leader’s Legacy: (In the End, the Leader’s Goal Is to Leave a Lasting Imprint)

(Note:  Used with permission from Baker Publishing Group 5/16/18)

As I read and reflected upon Albert Mohler’s framework for convictional leadership I noted five glaring weaknesses in my leadership with three more soft spots.  I’ve got lots of work to do to grow.  How about you?  Our challenge in leadership is to do it with conviction as the Apostle Paul modeled out for us in Romans 8: 37-38, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced….”  Lead on.

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