Author Mohler: Conviction Is Key to Leadership

Sunday, 02 Dec 2012 02:58 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald and John Bachman

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Conviction stands at the center of leadership, says Dr. Albert Mohler, the author of a new book about how true leaders are made.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Mohler said that when most people think about leaders, they go to the leaders “we would define as being leaders of conviction — men like Ronald Reagan, women like Margaret Thatcher. If you think in history, someone like Winston Churchill,” he explained. “It was ideas and convictions that defined the essence of their leadership and that’s why we are still talking about them today.”

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Mohler, the author of “The Conviction to Lead,” said leadership happens when conviction is conveyed in the context of leadership — for just a few people or millions.

Passion is also an important part of conviction, said Mohler, and passion should flow from the beliefs and convictions that carry one to leadership.

“Let’s say, if you think your job as a leader is simply to sell more of this, or to make more of those, then it’s probably going to be hard to get much passion,” Mohler said. “But if you imagine the good that these things do that you are making and the changes in lives that will happen because of the things that your folks and your team will be accomplishing — if you think about the lives that are being molded and beyond them the lives that are being reached — if that doesn’t bring out the passion in you, then you are probably not called to be a leader.”

Most leaders who don’t have passion are “tired” and don’t see the actual importance of what they do, Mohler said.

Meanwhile, Mohler doesn’t find today’s leaders to be lacking in moral fiber any more than in the past.

“We live in an age in which character is much more public,” he said. “We live out lives in a much more public way. For instance, if you go back, we understand that had things been known about John F. Kennedy and his sexual relationship, it likely would have brought down his presidency. The same might have been true of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The reality is that those things were shielded from public view, but as you and I would both agree it didn’t shield them from the impact of those bad moral decisions.”

Mohler said people are just more aware of their leaders’ shortcomings than they were in the past. In addition, modern technology makes it easier to document gaffes.

“You can ask David Petreus: living in the digital age, if you document your adultery, it’s going to be found out,” he said. “When it does, you have to know that it’s going to be disastrous for your leadership.”

Mohler acknowledged today’s leaders face many challenges, especially one many people take for granted — energy.

“Leadership is one of those high-energy callings that any human being can take on because a leader is taking on enormous responsibility, not only of believing and doing and acting, but of generating the right beliefs and the right understandings, the right plans and strategies so that others do the same,” he said.

He said the leadership task is never finished, but great leaders eventually have to turn over responsibility to someone else.

Distractions don’t help.

“It’s much harder to lead in an age of enormous multiple distractions and that’s one of the reasons why convictional leadership is the only leadership that is going to survive,” he added.

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