In his essay in Convictional Civility: Engaging the Culture in the 21st Century, Gene Fant discusses “Leadership Lessons from David S. Dockery.” He writes:
Leaders typically find themselves in positions of authority that force people to follow them whether willingly or mandatorily, but transformational leadership is more a function of a person than a position. Even someone who has a leader’s title can look to the rear one day and realize that no one is actually following. The reverse can be true as well: someone who has no formal title can glance behind and realize that an entire line of people is following.
For the latter leader the epiphany that discovers, “Wow! I’m a leader!” is one that carries great temptation. In one direction lurk egomania and the so-called will to power, as Friedrich Nietzsche once phrased it. For Christ followers this direction leads toward devastation and chaos and is paved with anxiety and paranoia, the fear of losing power. In the other direction lies the path of the servant who leads selflessly and influentially. This path is illumined by the confidence that grows from conviction and courage.
Convictional leaders will always find followers whose own passions enable them to seek dedication and excellence. Followers will queue up behind courageous leaders who are willing to ignore their own fears and pursue significance. Courage rooted in conviction rather than recklessness is rare, but it is one of the most effective traits of the God-honoring leader.
Fant goes on to explore four principles that emerge from David Dockery’s leadership style: 1) Calling produces conviction; 2) Conviction yields courage; 3) Principle yields predictability; and 4) Orthodoxy yields optimism.
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About the Contributor:
Gene C. Fant Jr. is provost and chief academic officer at Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida.
About the Editors:
Ben Mitchell is provost and vice president for academic affairs and Graves professor of moral philosophy at Union University, Jackson, Tennessee.
Carla D. Sanderson is provost emeritus at Union University and vice president for institutional effectiveness and professional regulation at Chamberlain College of Nursing, Chicago, Illinois.
Gregory Alan Thornbury is president of the King’s College, New York, New York.