CNLP 153: Clay Scroggins on How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge

One of the greatest myths of leadership is that you have to be in charge in order to lead.

Clay Scroggins talks about how to cultivate influence and gain authority when you’re not the senior leader. It’s possible, even when you’re young. Ask Clay, he’s doing it under Andy Stanley.

Welcome to Episode 153 of the podcast.

Guest Links

Clay’s website

Clay’s book How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge

Clay on Twitter

Clay on Instagram

Clay on Facebook 

Clay on Episode 35

Links Mentioned

3 Insights from This Episode

1. The Myth of Authority:  When I’m in charge I’ll be able to lead

Many assume influence isn’t attainable without the big title.  They quietly take the back seat waiting for a higher position to give them authority.  But the truth is whether you’re in charge or not, you can have influence.  Don’t waste time waiting.  From whatever seat you’re in, find the power to lead without the title you think you need.  The sooner that happens, the sooner you can tap into having influence in all aspects of your life.

2. Control – we all want it, but none of us really have it

The #1 frustration for leaders who aren’t in charge is control.  We all want the security of owning our decisions without others calling the shots.  We want our great ideas to be heard and when they’re not it’s defeating.  We assume things are different for the ones on top – those bosses who have the final say – but they don’t really have control either.  There’s always someone to answer to no matter where you are on the ladder.

When you don’t feel heard or when you aren’t passionate about the direction a project, series or campaign is going – don’t passively bow out.  Take the opportunity to lean in and make it better with your influence.  Great leaders know it’s not always the best idea that works, but the best team working together makes all the difference.

3. Start gaining influence now so you’re ready to take the lead tomorrow

Not getting invited to the meetings you want?  Wish you were asked to take the lead on that big project?  You have the power to cultivate influence beyond your authority.  Here’s where to start.

  1. Know what needs to change in you so you can grow – Don’t shy away from some deep self-evaluation and take the time to ask others how you can perform better.
  2. Attitude is Everything – It’s not a personality trait, it’s a decision you make.  Your team needs your energy and attitude more than they need your education and talent.
  3. Be reliable – do what you said you were going to do when you said you were going to do it.  Trust is like gold.

You may not be invited to that meeting yet, but you can prepare yourself today for the invitation.  Whatever responsibility you have, own it and be amazing at it.  Others will take notice and doors will open.

Quotes from This Episode

Want to Reach More People? Here’s Some Practical Help.

Breaking 200


So many leaders face an obstacle in reaching their community that 85% of churches never break: the 200 attendance barrier.

In addition, many leaders who try to break it get burned or get burned out in the process.

How do you break the 200 barrier? How do you do with without breaking you?

Believe it or not, the reasons most churches never break 200 aren’t spiritual reasons, they’re practical reasons. Srategic reasons.

This fall, I launch a brand new online course called Breaking 200 Without Breaking You.

If you think your church is small, I started with a church of 6 people. And it wasn’t a church plant. These were people who loved the way things were, and we needed to bring about massive change. By God’s grace, we saw it grow, and I led through the 200 barrier to eventually lead a church of over 1000. I took good notes, and in the course, I share practical strategies that worked not just for us, but which I’ve seen work for hundreds of other leaders too.

I believe these 8 doable strategies can help you too, and that’s what this course is all about. The workbook will also become your action plan to help you determine your next steps in each critical area as a church.

Join the waitlist now to get an exlusive insider information and a free bonus and to be the first to know when the course releases.

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Hopefully, this episode has helped you lead like never before. That’s my goal. If you appreciated it, could you share the love?

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Thank you for being so awesome.

Next Episode: Todd Fields

For over 20 years, Todd Fields has led worship leaders at North Point Church in Atlanta at their campuses, and more recently helped worship leaders around the world get better at their craft.. Todd talks about the constant change in worship, working with Andy Stanley and Louie Giglio and offers advice to senior pastors and worship leaders on the future of worship.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 154.


  1. David J.W.Kimani on December 1, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Awesome stuff there on leadership. Just attended the GLS 2017 a week ago and it fits in with the message from that Summit that everyone has influence. God bless you.

  2. Dan Reiland on August 23, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Hey Carey! This is an awesome podcast. Well done. Both you and Clay did such an outstanding job communicating this artful and nuanced topic in leadership. Thanks for all you do! You guys just advanced the Kingdom big time! Look forward to our next connect! Dan

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