How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge

I heard about a book on Andy Stanley’s leadership podcast called

“How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge: Leveraging Influence When You Lack Authority” by Clay Scroggins.

I haven’t read the book but it sounds like it could be a guide for “happening to the world.”

If you are committed to “happening to the world,” you will most frequently be trying to improve things without authority. Influence is your only tool.

Before I was a CEO, I worked in Human Resources. HR folks are called staff. They “help” and they “fix”. Their roles are all about improving the situations they encounter.

As I traveled around, I was conscious of the fact I wasn’t the boss. If I was to have any impact, I had to add value any way I could.

My tools were persuasion. Could I convince someone to change?

Education. Could I provide a compelling case for what I recommended?

Results. Did my advice cause results?

The more resources and results that were offered, the more my influence grew. For the most part, people were glad to see me coming.

In an enterprise of more than 1,400 people, most of us don’t have titles. Authority typically rests with titles.

Great organizations cultivate an idea that authority is to be used rarely. The focus is on cultivating influence. Influence means the best people to decide, create, plan, do are the ones who do those things.

Influence works best.