In this blog post I want to highlight, summarize, and reflect on Clay Scroggin’s book titled, How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge, Chapter 1, “The Oddity of Leadership”
Clay Scroggins is the lead pastor of North Point Community Church and works with leadership expert and pastor Andy Stanley.
The myth most people believe is that you can lead only when you have authority. Therefore, many people wait until they have authority before leading. (pg. 20)
For those who want to lead or have the desire to lead, waiting their turn to lead is very difficult and will often lead new leaders or young leaders to not want to try to lead. (pg. 22)
Wrongly, we start to believe that positional authority is a prerequisite for effective leadership. (pg. 23)
Leaders shouldn’t be passive, but active in the results of the work they are doing. Everyone should take ownership of their respective areas, roles, outcomes, etc. (pg. 26)
Leaders lead with the authority of being a leader. Authority is irrelevant. (pg. 26)
New leaders, need to “accept the authority they have and then use it wisely to cultivate influence and make things better.” (pg. 27)
Leaders absolutely must inspire confidence.
Clay outlines his thesis or his main point of the entire book when he says that:
“This book is about how to cultivate the influence needed to lead when you’re not in charge.”— Clay Scroggins
Each of us can take our own area of work and influence and can concentrate on moving it from good to great. (pg. 29)
Being “under the thumb” of others is no fun and no place anyone want to be.
Authority is something that you have as you gain titles, but should be used sparingly, if at all.
Using your authority all the time is not leadership, it’s just plain being pushy.
Because this is a book written by a pastor of a church, Scroggins will seek to pull things from the Bible to further illustrate points.
Jesus argues that the best leaders, the ones who alight with his vision for leadership, will lead as servants who are aware of their responsibility and who answer to a higher calling.
There seems to be an antidote to the excessive use of authority and that’s inspiration!
The ones who probably need influence the most are middle managers, because they have to lead up, down, laterally, and all sorts of directions.
It’s vital for people to develop influence even when they don’t have authority because if or when they do gain authority, they won’t have any to use!
Leading without authority means you need to have a clear understanding of your identity-who you are as a leader, apart from any titles.
Anyone can be a leader whether they have a title or not, or even if they have been at their job for only a short time. We all know how it feels when leaders who are over us use their authority to be pushy and bossy. Leaders would do well to embody how Jesus led when he desires that leaders first serve out of a responsibility and because they are aware of a higher calling within them.
Influence, and the cultivation of it, is critical for any leader who wants to lead. It’s probably the most important thing to cultivate especially if you’re a “middle manager” because you’ll need to lead up, down, and laterally to achieve a certain vision.
As a middle manager in a business, I am in a great position to learn how to lead with influence. I have to become more inspirational, and to develop confidence in the people who are under me. I need to be able to see where I can make things great and improve where I can. I have to combat the same mindset that Scroggins fought when he was younger.
Right now, there are three things I need to do and be aware of:
- Be more relational. Figure out how to build relationships with people who are much younger than me.
- Strive to be more inspiring and inspire confidence in others. I am usually a serious person, and I should not be so serious.
- Keep growing in my self-awareness.