These are the principles no one told you, but would have changed everything. This is the stuff you wish you knew at the beginning.
While reading Clay Scroggins’ new book, How to Lead When You’re not in Charge, I continuously recalled situations from my past where I would have proven to be a much more effective leader had I approached the situation according to the principles Scroggins shares.
This book could have easily been titled, What to do with your Feelings as a Leader. As leaders, we naturally have certain thoughts and feelings toward the organization of which we are a part. This is a good thing. These thoughts and feelings are what validate your propensity to lead. The question is, “What do you do with those thoughts and feelings?” Clay gives incredibly wise advise on how to process and proceed for the benefit of everyone involved.
Through entertaining and humorous illustrations like the story of being hired to move a crotchety old man’s pool table in college; which contained one my favorite lessons in the whole book, Clay gleans wisdom from everyday life experiences and provides practical application for how to implement that wisdom in my everyday life. He is humble and vulnerable in his storytelling…all for the benefit of the reader and the organizations in which he or she leads.
Clay also lays out simple and practical advice along with brilliant questions that you need to answer for yourself. For example, Clay is very generous to share his Lead Me Plan…a process anyone can easily work through to develop better self-leadership; which is where it all starts. An example of brilliant question-asking is evident in Clay’s self-appointed 360 degree evaluation when he moved to a new role. He sent three questions to around 50 previous coworkers and asked them three simple questions:
- What did I do over the past few years that inspired you?
- What did I do that frustrated you?
- What do I not know about myself that has become a blind spot?
Who does that?? Leaders who want to get better do that. Leaders who desire to leverage more influence despite a lack of authority do that. I should do that. You should do that.
Clay is also direct and honest with words we need to hear, especially if you are a young leader. He comes right out and says, “You are not ready for your boss’s job.” How many of us have thought that we should be in that position…in those shoes?? He’s right. We’re not ready and we need someone to be honest with us while also helping us determine how to best lead right where we are to make the biggest impact, as well as prepare us for what’s next. This is what How To Lead does for a leader.
Personally, the most influential section of the book is when Clay explains the difference between thinking critically and being critical. His explanation of how to be an effective critical thinker and to share your thoughts in a way that adds value to the mission of your organization is amazing. Do you find yourself continually burdened to make your organization better? The good news is that you can…right where you are…with exactly what you have. Clay shares how to do it well.
When I first read the endorsement by Andy Stanley (senior pastor and founder of North Point Ministries), I thought to myself, He has to say that. Clay is his replacement. Andy writes, “This book you are holding in your hands will be one of the most, if not the most, pivotal leadership books you’ll ever read.” After actually reading the book, I totally agree with Andy. He’s right (as usual). This book should be required reading for everyone entering an organization at any level. I know this will be the next read for my team and it will help them in every role they play, rather it’s in the workplace, at the local rec league, and even at home.
Clay breaks down every myth and removes every excuse as to why we cannot have incredible influence and impact in our current position. If you are looking to be inspired to action and you are tired of feeling stuck, Clay’s book is exactly what you need. We are all leaders and we can either lead well or lead poorly. It starts with a decision. The next decision you should make to lead well is to pick up How to Lead When You’re not in Charge.