How to Lead When You Are Not in Charge

This week I heard a Podcast in which Clay Scroggins was interviewed about his new book entitled How to Lead When You Are Not In Charge.   The book is the personal story of the leadership lessons learned by Clay starting from an intern to becoming a Church Pastor.  

Don't discount the leadership advice from a pastor!  If you have ever had the opportunity to lead in a nonprofit, you know that this is the hardest leadership job available.   Clay learned many of his lessons working under another pastor, Andy Stanley.   Andy is a well-known author and speaker on the topic of leadership.

Clay shared his personal temptation to wait for authority to start leading.   He offered a great challenge to start by leading yourself.   He quoted one of my favorite quotes by Tom Watson…

Nothing so conclusively proves a man's ability to lead others as what he does on a daily basis to lead one's self.

Clay also challenged me that leadership is about taking your focus away from "me" and focusing on others.   He advocates that knowing yourself is important to becoming a healthy leader.   He suggests having people around you who can give you an honest assessment of what you are good at, what you are not good at, and what are your blind spots.   He said that a leader should ask, "What is it like to be around me and how do I make people feel?"

Clay says,  the clearer you are about who you are….. 

…the less concerned you will be about the opinions of others

…the more consistent you will be with others

…the more confident you will be about what you do.

Don't wait until you get your next promotion to start leading.   If you are waiting for the authority, you will never be a great leader because a great leader leads out of the influence they wield, not out of their authority.