“Our focus does not have to be simply on persuading those in charge to effect change. You may be able to do that, and you may not. But what you can do is focus on your own area of responsibility and make it great.”

Oh how I wish I had read this book 5 years ago. Stuck working for someone for whom I had lost respect, looking back, I think I was trying to change his behavior. I was a meager admin assistant studying Organizational Leadership, but I was (and still am) far from a professional in behavioral psychology. In hindsight, I could have done better to approach my frustrations differently.

“Great leaders, young and old, understand that God is the one who gives authority and that having influence is the path toward authority, not the other way around.”

It is hard to come to terms with the thought that God has put in authority people who do not know how to lead well. Not because I think I should be the one in authority, but because I tend to have high standards for those in authority over me and have been sorely disappointed. However, as Pastor Scroggins says, “God has used bad leaders for generations” and “choosing to believe that your boss owes you nothing, might just change everything.”

Maybe I have expected too much from my former bosses. Maybe my heart was in the right place to challenge certain situations, but my approach could have been better. Maybe I should have focused more on how I was leading in my sphere of influence (no matter how small) instead of dwelling on all the ways those in authority were not living up to my expectations. 

“There is always more going on than what I can see. God is always working on something in me and I can rarely see it while it is happening. There is no wasted time in God’s economy. When you keep your focus on that, it helps you keep the perspective you need to be able to dig in deeply where God has put you.”

One thing I do know for sure is that, If I had been more worried about how God was growing me in that season than what I thought he should be teaching those in authority over me, I would have been able to reign in a lot of my emotions. 

“As sons and daughters of God, we are working for our dad, the owner…. All work we do matters to God and we will be held accountable for it all…”

During times that my relationship with a superior at work was less than desirable, I would still do what was asked of me but my heart was not in it. Part of that was self preservation. Why waste more emotional or mental energy than I have to when the person I report to does not appreciate me? However, I wonder how much better those months I spent with one foot out the door would have been if I would have gotten up every morning and told myself I was going to work for God, not my boss.

“Challenging up requires a bridge of relationship that is strong enough to handle the weight of the challenge.” 

This is knowledge I did not possess at times when I attempted to challenge former bosses. Sometimes those conversations still went okay, but other times I think I should have known that what I wanted to communicate would have been taken personally, because it was too personal to me.

“If Jesus is the hope of the world, then the church, the people of Jesus, is the vehicle for that hope.”

Learning how to lead when we are not in charge is just one way we can show Christ to our coworkers and bosses. This applies no matter your profession. We have been commissioned by God to try and create order out of chaos and whether you are an intern or a CEO, all work can and should be done to the glory of God.