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All right. Well, good morning, everybody that's in local government. This is Bill Stark, and I am with LeaderGov. And this is one of our regular podcast sessions. And we're excited to be speaking today with Anne Cain and the topic of our discussion with an is servant leadership and is the director of human resources. And so just want to say a warm welcome to you and how are you today?
I'm doing great, Bill. Thank you so much. Hope you are too.
Yeah, I'm doing good when are starting to get cool finally, and winners here. So, so far, so good. Hey, and tell everybody, if you would just a quick background a little bit about your professional background and let everybody know where to sit county is and kind of what it's known for.
Okay, well, Catoosa County is what we'd call right outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee. So we're really like the last exit before you get in the state of Tennessee. So we're northwest Georgia, as extreme as you can get. And as far as my background, I started right out of school working for Georgia Pacific cooperation in the gypsum division. I wasn't just an HR assistant at that point, and then moved up the ladder and worked with him for about 10 years, and then decided I needed to be closer to home because my daughter was growing up. So then I went to work as an HR for a software company that was based out of Houston called BMC Software. And as a head of smaller office in the town I lived in in Conyers, Georgia. So I worked with them for quite a while. And then my husband got transferred up here to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and that's how I landed the HR job here at Catoosa. County and I am the HR director here.
Well, and how long have you been providing HR services? Eric tus County?
About 17 years.
Okay. Wow. So you've seen a lot of change heading you
I know that Catoosa County is experiencing a lot of growth because y'all are right outside Chattanooga. CaliBurger. Almost, is that right? Yeah, yeah. Well, we're growing this top exponential, you're good. Yeah. For sure. That's exciting to hear. And even more so important for our topic today, which is servant leadership. And in the world of leadership, there are a lot of different types of leadership philosophies. One of them, of course, is kind of a top down. autocratic kind of leadership. I'm the boss, you're my employee, I'm going to tell you what to do. That's one type of leadership. And you know, that actually works pretty well at a fire where there's a fire and you have a fire chief, running the fire and putting the fire out. You need that top down kind of very direct, forceful communications, but in the office, working on projects, working with people day to day, that style typically doesn't work in the long run. So servant leadership is what we're talking about at leader. Gov. And I wanted to just ask you a couple of questions about the servant leader concept. So in servant leadership, as you know, and they're basically Robert Greene leaves it from his perspective says there are 10 pillars or 10 qualities. There's listening, empathy, healing, awareness, that is awareness of my strengths and weaknesses, persuasion, the ability to persuade your team a conceptualization, the ability to kind of see down the road a little bit in terms of what might happen foresight, stewardship, stewarding assets, commitment to people's growth, and number 10 is building community. So those are kind of the principles and I just wanted to ask you as a leader in local government, you know, how has the servant leader philosophy helped you in either you personally or teams that you've worked on in in local government?
Okay, so, for me, I believe servant leadership has helped us because the employee can feel that our true desire is to help them will listen to their needs, and then take time to engage in a mutually inclusive conversation with them. And I feel that this approach has led to open communications and trust with the HR team, with the employees.
And when that trust begins to be built between you or other people on your team and the employees, what does that then do for the quality of the work there conducive County?
Well, I believe that they come to us with any type of needs. So I think then we have a better chance of getting to the bottom of have any issues that might occur even at that point or in the future? So I think it better leads us to be able to help them and thus anybody around them that they're working with.
Yeah, yeah. Right. So the trust leads to their being more open, more willing to come to you with an issue. They don't feel threatened. They feel like the doors open. Yeah. Yeah, that's such a subtle thing. And I'm so it's so exciting to hear that y'all have really gravitated toward these concepts, and it's paying off with more trust. But any particular Is there a story or maybe a project you were working on in the past, or maybe currently where you felt like maybe some of the servant leader characteristics really sort of shined or maybe made a difference in a project, or something you've been working on?
Well, I mean, I do have certain instances, however, I think I'm just going to say that to just kind of give you our everyday story, because I think that I've been able to build a really good team that our employees have a lot of trust in. And so my team is approached every single day, just about from at least one employee who's looking for some type of advice, someone just to listen to them, or maybe to educate them on anything human resources, or personnel wise. And these employees feel so comfortable with my team, that they open up, and when they leave, they just feel better, they're more uplifted. And I think they just have a better outlook toward the day that's ahead of them. So I mean, that's almost on an everyday occurrence.
Wow. Yeah, that's, that is profound, actually, because it sounds like you're more just living it out, sort of day to day, moment to moment, which is what we're supposed to do. It sounds like to that course, the attributes of listening are certainly there in what you're describing, I'm sure empathy plays a role in somebody comes to you with a challenge or a problem. And you have to be empathetic, right? So that's great. That's, it's really I liked that it sounds like servant leadership has really become part of your DNA and the way you serve. Yes. You know, when you when you think if you were just to zoom out, you know, this podcast is really for local government, leaders all around the country, particularly here in Georgia, where we are, you know, if you were, if you were to offer some advice, or just, you know, wisdom that you've encountered along the way related to servant leadership, what what would you what would you say to those other government leaders who, you know, their de facto, is to maybe bark out orders or, you know, use force or intimidation to lead, yet they really aren't quite comfortable? I don't really understand this servant leadership mentality, you know, for those people that are out there, and what would you what kind of advice or what would you say to them?
Okay, so I think that I would tell other government leaders, that servant leadership empowers the employee, it encourages them. And the end result is success, success of the employee, which is ultimately our success. I believe in every employee that we have, otherwise, we should not have hired them in the first place. And I think to show them that we believe in them, we should extend our trust and humility to them. It is a for me, I think it's just a win win situation, if you humbly give of yourself, then my belief is you receive back to fold.
Wow, that's really, really special. It's a but it's isn't like paradoxical. It's like, I'm gonna get more back from you. And if, if I give you something, you know, like, that doesn't make sense. And our normal sort of human way of thinking, it's like, if I want something, I've got to go take it, right. But what you're saying is if I want something if I want your trust, if I want your, your friendship, I have to give a giveaway. Right? Right. And it's
always better to give than to receive anyway that's, that's just my honest belief.
Yeah, yeah. Well, I can tell it's just kind of part of your, of who you are. And you know, we we need that everywhere. We do that in private business and of course, local government as well. But you all have so many unique pressures on you and local government, you know, of course citizens and you've got an ever changing city council or county commission that that you have to deal with. Y'all seem to have a lot more unique pressures in local government and so all the more reason to be servant leaders. And so yeah, I really appreciate your thoughts this morning and sharing some deals with the folks and I really wish you all the best in Catoosa County and all the work that you're doing there.
All right. Thank you, Bill.