Dr. Albert Mohler on AlbertMohler.com. Talking about his new book The Conviction to Lead.
"For the better part of the last three decades, leadership has been a major cultural preoccupation and a professional obsession. Walk into an airport bookstore and you will find the front tables filled with books promising to make you a better leader. Apparently, people passing through airports have a healthy appetite for books on leadership. Walk into a Christian bookstore, and you will find ample evidence of the same hunger.
If you are like me, you have probably read a small library of books on leadership, attended numerous conferences and seminars, and you likely read leadership newsletters and professional journals when you find the time. Hotel conference rooms overflow with people listening to speakers deliver talks on leadership and colleges and universities have gotten into the business as well, offering majors, degree programs, and even entire schools devoted to leadership studies.
What is going on here? The hunger for leadership reaches every sector of our society, including business, government, education, cultural institutions, and, of course, the church. Christians, along with the rest of the society, were looking for leaders, and to develop leadership.
It was not always so, of course, though it is hard now to imagine a time when leadership had something of a bad name. The twentieth century was a brutal and murderous laboratory for leadership. All you have to do is think of names like Vladimir Lenin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Josef Stalin, and Mao Zedong.
In light of these horrors, many people began to wonder if leaders and leadership were themselves the problem. Theodor Adorno and his colleagues at the University of Chicago suggested this in 1950 in their book, The Authoritarian Personality. They seemed to suggest that any ambition to lead was based in unhealthy psychological needs and would produce dangerous results.
This mentality took root in the culture of the 1960s, where counter-culture groups demanded the abolition of many leadership positions and the larger society grew increasingly nervous about the nature of leadership. Educators followed suit with classrooms in which the teacher was to be just a fellow learner, no longer “the sage on the stage.”
Of course, it didn’t work. It couldn’t work. It turned out that even anti-leadership movements needed leaders. The nation needed leaders. Businesses needed leaders. Teacher had better know more than the students."