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How to Lead When You're Not in Charge: Leveraging Influence When You Lack Authority
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How to Lead When You're Not in Charge: Leveraging Influence When You Lack Authority

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,700 ratings  ·  366 reviews
Are you letting your lack of authority paralyze you?

One of the greatest myths of leadership is that you must be in charge in order to lead. Great leaders don't buy it. Great leaders lead with or without the authority and learn to unleash their influence wherever they are.

With practical wisdom and humor, Clay Scroggins will help you nurture your vision and cultivate influen
Kindle Edition, 214 pages
Published August 22nd 2017 by Zondervan (first published 2017)
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Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-dev
I am not Christian. By any means. I grew up protestant, but that ended quickly--like age 7. I don't believe in organized religion by any stretch of the imagination, but I do believe in spirituality.

I also have read an ungodly amount of self-dev books. It's part of my job to listen to them. The vast majority of them are useless regurgitations of stale patriarchal concepts.

Those two things being said, this is a great book. It is very Christian, and Mr. Scroggins--who is some kind of pastor at a hu
Erik Madsen
Oct 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You’ll enjoy this book if you’re looking for the intersection of repetitive explanations, management cliches and God’s plan.

I wasn’t looking for that.
Jason Barmer
There are some good insights in this book about having influence in your workplace even when you aren't the one calling all the shots. My most significant takeaway from this read was that when we see problems that need solutions, we should drive for those solutions, even if we aren't sure we have all the authority we need to make it happen. Collaborate with others, build the case, and be humble about it because we might just learn something valuable in the process.

With that said, there are a few
Kelsey Grissom
Apr 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Few things are more obnoxious to me than a writer who spends the entire book trying to be cute.
Christopher Litsinger
I choose to read this book with someone I mentor, who is in a technical role, but working to influence their organization. This was a huge mistake. I feel betrayed by this book.
First of all, this book was written by a Pastor. I don't have a problem with that, but it turns out that this book is really about church leadership. I tried hard to keep an open mind and look for general principles that apply, and I found a few -- but there are hard rules espoused in this book that essentially start with
Mar 02, 2020 rated it liked it
I am not Christian, and this book is very Christian-based. That being said, if that does not bother you, there is valuable info to be gleaned here. I listened to the audio version, and the author has a charm that made the over the top Christian stuff not bother me quite as much. I wish he would do a secular version because I feel like his message is wider than just people who are working in churches or pastoral roles. Overall, it has a good message about taking charge of your own decisions and a ...more
Steve Carr
I might be guilty of rating this too low. I went into it knowing only the title, so I don't think I had unrealistic expectations. But this is an important topic, especially as motivated millenials explore how to interact with their superiors. I'm just not sure it delivered as it should.

While there were some "hidden-gem" observations here, the book felt like it was sewn together from patches of sermons and small group studies. It was far more "church-centric" than I expected it to be.

Again, per
Wendy Walters DeMent
After listening to the webcast of "How to Lead When You're Not in Charge," I could not wait to read the book. I was not disappointed. Important take aways include that you are in charge of you and that no one can lead you until your first learn how to lead yourself. You can't wait around for the authority to lead, because authority is largely irrelevant. Influence is the currency of leadership.

I found this book to be very inspiring, while at the same time instructing how to be effective at lead
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
"Oh those poor animals on Mr. Jones's Manor Farm. They work all day and don't get any respect. In fact, it's like they exist solely to strive for him"

This book would've been perfect for Snowball.


Personal Note: The book in itself is not a four star book. The style is fairly colloquial and the content is not very novel. It received four stars because this book helped me sort through all the B.S. lies I tell myself to feel good about my own passivity.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didnotfinish
I got about a third of the way through this before I had enough. It's not the Christian POV - I love inspirational books and books with a Christian perspective. However, this one was annoying. I found it repetitive, too 'cutesy', and misleading. It's not a leadership book - if you want a leadership book, I recommend John Maxwell. The only folks that are likely to profit from reading might be those in charge of churches; otherwise, look elsewhere. ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book that covers many of the mistakes we make when we take a passive, "afflicted" view on life and work. Rather, we should take ownership and work like a boss. Never going against what the leadership says, but rather working to accomplish their end visions. There were a lot of *ouch* moments in this book for me, but hey that's what reading should do, eh?

You don't need to be a leader to act like a leader.

He asked, “So if you didn’t like the outline, why wouldn’t you just change it to
Clayton Keenon
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Solid. Almost gave this 3 stars, though, because the the way the author reads the audiobook is very distracting. That said, there was a lot of content that I will put into practice and pass on to others.
Costen Warner
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent book for me at a crucial time in my career. My favorite point from Scroggins was taking the initiative to lead yourself before you ask to lead others. Also liked his tips on trying to critique ideas without critiquing the people behind those ideas.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Amy by: Sam
Sibling's Day gift from my brother, Sam.
Overall, two things stick out:
1. You have the power to raise or lower the voices in your head. You need to be aware of the people who speak into your life and moderate those voices accordingly. The things you think about yourself heavily influence what you do and who you become.
2. A cheerful heart and happy attitude towards work goes a long way.

I appreciated this work overall but did not find it too mind blowing. It has good lessons, though, and useful
I really enjoyed the lessons and approach of this book. The author is accessible and while sometimes trying a little too hard to sound cool, does a good job of being a voice of authority without talking down. I also appreciate the emphasis on being better where you are, rather than being about moving up the chain of command.

The most pleasant surprise for me was the strong Christian slant to the book (I found it in the business books section). Because the author is a lead pastor, he uses the Gos
George P.
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My friend Carter McDaniels reviewed this book for, but I thought I'd give my two-cents' worth too:

“Influence always outpaces authority,” writes Clay Scroggins. “And leaders who consistently leverage their authority are far less effective in the long term than leaders who leverage their influence.” Scroggins identifies four behaviors that will help readers leverage their influence: lead yourself, choose positivity, think critically and reject passivity. He also gives sage ad
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
How to Lead When You're Not in Charge: Leveraging Influence When You Lack Authority by Clay Scroggins is The Chalk Man of self-help/development books. My God was this book horrible. "How to Lead..." was on several lists of great self development books. One of my goals this year was to read or listen to at least one development book a month. I opted for the audiobook and I can't even articulate how horrendous this was. Scroggins talks like he's a used-car salesman. Everything seemed like a gimmic ...more
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Casual read for people in their early twenties, plain and simple. Although while reading this I have found some motivation to persevere in my line of work, most of the time it was likely to predict what the next advise will be like. No offense, but 15 quid is a rather expensive price for such modest amount of "meat" in the book.

At some point author mentions mental issues that make it harder to control his temper, adding that there is a biological explanation for that. Few chapters earlier the sa
Mark Manderson
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some great practical knowledge.
Top takeaways are:
Our behaviours flow from our identity.
The most important conversation you have each day is the ongoing one you have with yourself! 
Discover what has shaped your identity by writing out a timeline of earliest memory to present of the 5 highest highs and 5 lowest lows of your life (then realize how this has defined you up to now.)
What you believe about why you are on Earth will deeply affect the opportunities you see before you.
Great leaders maintai
Nathan Farley
This should be required reading for every intern in every organization. Period
Ashley Chowdhury
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best book I have read on leadership. Challenging but practical.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
The author tells of his journey in pastoral ministry and how he has learned, as the subtitle said, to leverage influence even though he was not the boss.

He speaks of a common condition among many: the feeling of not being able to do much because one is not in a position of power. One can find no end of criticisms of the way things are being done, and the conceit that if one was in charge, how one would do things differently. The author does well to demonstrate the difficulties of these views, an
Moshe Zioni
Not bad, but composed in a very annoying way. I'll explain.

It might have been a good (even recommended) read for the newbie in a leadership position. Good advice, but mostly basic and redundant. But that's not the worst part - the composition of the book and essense of it is really slimmer than its length.

The 'practical' advice is what bothers me most here - the author is a pastor and have managed and lead churches (yes), which does not reserve anything from the reader as advice is mainly given
David Lasley
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are so many leadership books out there, but most are targeted toward those heading up their organizations or in significant places of influence. In Scroggin’s book, the intended audience is anyone who ISN’T in charge. It’s a brilliant concept because truthfully it applies to all of us. Even CEO’s, lead ministers, etc are accountable to someone- maybe a board of directors, for example.
Lindsey and I have both said we wish we had this book when we first were hired in our organization. The ch
Orazie Slayton
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it
this was an ok book. He provided a number of nice anecdotes that were personable to his point. My major concern with the book is the idea that he promotes that individuals are in leadership because God wants them to be there and when God wants you to be in that position he will put you there and until then one must submit to the leadership. The premise is flawed to suggest that God ordains certain people to be in leadership. Using the Biblical point God did not ordain or suggest for the children ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most helpful leadership book I've come across. It's just an absolute must for anyone who ultimately answers to someone else, but has vision, passion, and drive to make things better in their organization (or even in their family). Clay outlines practical and convicting areas of behavior and thought-life everyone should be paying attention to– especially those of us who want to grow and protect our influence. For anyone who wants to be a better leader or simply a better human, this re ...more
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was not quite what I was expecting, but in the best way possible. In an attitude-challenging, kick-in-the-pants kind of way. Half of the pages are covered in hi-lighter marks and quotes from each chapter have been regularly copied out onto the white board in my office. I think it was written with younger professionals (especially those in ministry, as the author is) in mind, but Scroggins' principles certainly apply across (and up) the board. For me, this is a keeper and will be a re-r ...more
Kara of BookishBytes
This is a business self-help book written from the perspective of a Christian pastor. The advice is solid and applies across professional fields (develop your personal reputation by being very good at your job, leverage your influence as well as you can, make your boss and co-workers look good so they will respect your judgement more, etc.). Reading a business book (which I've read a lot of ) written for the context of church ministry was unique and kind of interesting in an anthropological way. ...more
Niels Andersen
Dec 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
I admit I didn't do a lot of research about this one. The title and description sounded interesting enough to buy it. That's on me.

Basically the author uses biblical examples and his own experience as a minister at various American church networks to give advice. The tone is chirpy and trying hard to be cute but I couldn't finish it.
Erik Rostad
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
Timely book that reframes what it means to be a leader. Hint: it's not about authority. Rather, leadership is about influence and you can begin gaining influence today. But influence doesn't come by force or manipulation, it comes through service. It comes by loving others as you love yourself. And love means wanting what is best for someone else. ...more
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Clay Scroggins is lead pastor of North Point Community Church (NPCC), where he provides visionary and directional leadership for the local church staff and congregation in Alpharetta, Georgia. As the original and largest campus of North Point Ministries, ranked by Outreach Magazine in 2014 as the largest church in America, NPCC averages over 12,000 people in attendance.

Clay works for Andy Stanley


News & Interviews

  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
14 likes · 8 comments
“Remember, leadership is the ability to motivate people to work harder, longer, and smarter, because the vision of the end goal has been painted so clearly.” 4 likes
“Influence always outpaces authority.” 4 likes
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