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Well, everybody, good day to you, and welcome to LeaderGovs podcast. My name is Bill Stark, and I'm one of the co founders of LeaderGov along with Tim Fenbert. And we're excited that you're listening today and that you're a part of our leader, golf community. We love serving local government leaders and providing resources to help you grow as a leader.
So that you can do a better job, serve your serve your people better get big things accomplished for your community. And that's kind of what we're all about, we really have a passion for it.
We have a great, great topic today. And it's this whole idea of management and leadership, you know, we as as leaders, we have to be involved in managerial activities during the day.
But it seems that we oftentimes get pulled down into the muck and mire of the operation so much, maybe more. So in local government, I don't know. But then we have these leadership things. We have these leadership ideas, principles, concepts that we know we need to be living out as leaders. And there's this tension between management and leadership. And so we want to explore that today.
With a really, really wonderful man who we've come to know, over the last couple of years, Eric, mostly, and Eric is the county manager for truth, County, Georgia, and we're so excited to have him here. He's got a real passion for leadership. And Eric, it is wonderful to have you with us. Well, thank you. It's certainly nice to be here. Obviously, you and I have created a friendship over the course the past couple of years, and certainly one that it excites me to have, again, we kind of worked with one another outside of business and maybe even into the more of our spiritual lives, which is awesome. Because again, as a, as a leader, you've got to be able to foster what you believe in your people in your organization. And I certainly am someone who has a deep rooted belief in Jesus Christ. And that's what drives what I do every day. Because again, I've got to be who I am. Yeah. Wow. I love that, you know, that.
That that kind of gets to an idea of, of what is our foundation of our leadership approach? Right. What, what motivates us what drives us? Right? What, what energizes us to to lead people? Yeah. And when you think of it through that through the lens that you're describing, which is your faith, is to serve and care for other people in your stead. I want to hear more about that. Can you give us just a 62nd You know, where you started in your career and,
you know, just kind of the highlights of where you've been in local government and maybe a tad bit about your family? Sure. So I'll start off, kind of on personal level.
Eric Mosley and the County Manager Richard cannon government's my wife, Joy. We've been married for
18 years this year. We have two boys, a
14 year old who's about to be 15 Getting ready to start driving here soon, which is really scary. And 11 year old, so I have a ninth grader and a sixth grader. And so really proud of my son scout. He actually is really, really close to finishing his eagle scout award and so worked with him for a while and certainly excited to see him do that. Nash is a really adventurous young man always in the woods and find the rocks and insects and bring them inside. And so that's certainly exciting.
On the professional end, I've had a real roundabout career. You know, many would be surprised of how I made it to this spot. It was a certainly a very roundabout way.
Went to college, went actually to Bible college to co Falls College and CO GA and certainly enjoyed my time there. Certainly I feel like I really found my faith there as a whole.
But it really drove where I move that point forward. Graduated actually I was a school teacher for about three and a half years, and I taught middle school and high school science.
i My background is really in sort of the natural science side of things. After teaching for about three and a half years got offered a job working for the state of Georgia and the US Forest Service.
My job primarily was to educate
the general public about Forestry and Forest utilization and wildland fires. And I work basically the Public Affairs Department of the Forest Service and the Georgia Forestry Commission, and really helped sort of spread the word did that for about 17 years in various functions was a wildland fire firefighter out west.
You know, did the yellow shirts and the green pants and the hoe and the shovels and the chainsaws and, you know, worked my way up through the system and to the point where when I left the forest service, back in
Just like for instance, like forget forever ago, but
was basically the EMA director for the state of Georgia for the Forest Service. And my job, which is kind of joked around was to give away money. I gave away money to local governments state organizations for primarily wildland wildland fire protection.
In 2011, to back up a little bit. I was assigned to be the female liaison for Spalding County, during 2011. Around Mother's Day, a tornado came through that area, and really damaged the area. And so I was sent in to be a
liaison with the federal government to help them with managing the process managing the funds that come along with a natural disaster. And so I spent about three months working with them hand in hand was there every day, working with the county manager working with the fire chief EMA director. And
after I left, I continue to have a relationship with that organization. And so
they started calling me a couple years later and asked if I would be interested in making a movie with government. And I was like, of course, not a lot of work. I wear green pants a tan shirt and have full drive pickup truck. I mean, I was living the dream of a yeah, we're service employee and
after many, many offers and urges, my wife and I decided to take for lunch. And we did. So that was your that was your that was your on ramp. That was my own ramp and the local government. Yes. And wow, that about three, three and a half years. They're working for a county manager who had been a county manager for 2530 years and learned a lot glean a lot of great information. He was a great mentor for me, served as the Assistant County Manager of Public Safety for Spalding County made a lot of great relationships. And then the physician in Troup county became available, again had an opportunity to transition him with a with a sitting county manager Todd settler. And spent about nine months him mentoring me in the role. And about nine months in we actually was which was really amazing. They were able to do it. They were able to do sort of we swapped roles he became my assistant now became the county manager. So for three more months while I was the manager, he was there to be nice to fall back on like a parachute. And so Wow. I've been here in this position for about four years as county manager for four and a half years. And really love it. Great job. Great community. Certainly love what's going on here and certainly look forward to the exciting things the future. Yeah, yeah. Y'all have a lot going on there and a great team we've been able to work with I know how many total employees 500 800 somewhere? Well, we've got about 650 total employees. 430 of them are full time The rest are part time seasonal employee. Okay. Yeah. And you're over tucked right near the state of Alabama. Right? We are we're in I mean that to me, that's one of our greatest blessings is our geographic location. We've got interstate 85. Interstate 185 That that cross up here. We've got West Point Lake which borders the Alabama Georgia Line Chattahoochee River runs there. We're about 45 minutes south of Atlanta. 45 minutes east of Auburn. We're 45 minutes north of Columbus so we're in a real sweet spot. Yeah, great bedroom community for a lot of folks. We obviously are very are anchored by a strong automotive industry. Kia Giorgio is here and they currently build the Telluride the ESB Sorento called Kate the K five, the Optima, which Optima, and then the
Sorento, so again, a lot of great automobiles built here. It's certainly a huge hub of our of our of our organization, and we've got a lot of great fortune 500 companies here Duracell
interface Milliken, you know, and Remington Arms just moved here last year. So we're really, really blessed. And again, I think a lot of it's just, we're just in a sweet spot. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Yeah, in really thank you so much for taking some time today. And as we talked about kind of trying to help the leaders that are on this podcast, balance, or think through or integrate, I really don't know the right word, this idea between management and leadership.
And we talked about this in our leadership workshop program. It's an important topic. And we've got supervisors listening to this podcast today, we got managers, we got director, city manager, and county managers. And we all struggle, I think there's this tension here, between day to day management and leadership. And I just wonder, when we talk about this, Eric, you know, what comes to mind for you? What are some thoughts that sort of, undergird your thinking on management versus leadership? And how are they different? How do they interact or mixed together? Yeah, you know, as this morning as I was driving to work, I was thinking about this topic. And the thing that kind of popped out in my head is this, if you remember the movie Braveheart, Mel Gibson, you know, is he puts the war paint on, and he runs out ahead of his army, you know, with the sword, you know, and again, I think as a,
as a leader, maybe a young leader, you think that's what you have to be, you have to be this guy at the tip of the spear charging, you know, added.
Of course, what you learn over time is it's quite the opposite. I had a
boss, when our for the Forest Service we did these teams, these are just called incident managed teams where we go out, we fight these fires, or we've been managing tornadoes, or hurricanes or floods. And he said, You know, I'm the incident commander, I am the tip of the spear. He said, But, you know, what I've got to do as leader is I've got to get out of the way and let you lead. He said, the greatest job that I can do every day is walking around hanging out water bottles,
because my job is to support you. But at the same time to just be available when times when there is a need. And so I think that's a great description of the of the, you know, here's Braveheart on one side, you know, he's dressed up in blue and white, and he's charging, you know, toward the, the English army. And the other side, you got a guy that just behind the scenes, he's just basically pass passing out cannon balls to the guys shooting shooting at him. So you know, there's just that there's that great link there. And so you got to find that sweet spot in between. But again, as a leader, it takes a while for you to find that spot. Yeah, yeah. You know, I hear you saying, empowering others. I hear I hear kind of the word empowerment, and that we want to set people up for success and give them some guardrails, right? We don't want them in the ditch, but give them guardrails and let them let them do their thing. And right, you know, they're liable to make mistakes, right. And so but but again, that's, that's part of this leadership idea is that we're growing people that are around us so they can thrive and grow themselves. But you know, I want to go back to the Braveheart. Tell me about the somebody has to tell the army where we're headed, right? And be sure we have the right kind of tools in our toolbox and resources. And so somebody has to cast the vision of where we're headed. Yeah. And be inspiring to some degree. Right. Certainly, I mean, you know, I certainly feel like that's there has to be someone that instigates change. But again,
you've got to be willing to bring folks along, you know, in from time to time, you have to be a little a dragon from time to time or a little bit of caution. To get folks out of comfort zone. Yes, at some point again, you've got to step back and allow them to lead. You know, we're going through right now. A culture of customer service leadership experience in our community. Yeah, it was my idea to start it off. But once we created the group, the leadership group, I have contract tried my best to completely pull myself away from it to allow them leave. Because if it's all me, there's no buy in. So there's got to be that buy in from that middle manager group to be able to take this charge. Otherwise, it just dies anytime I walk away. Yeah, I really, really like what you're saying is it's sort of counterintuitive.
We're not supposed to be in the thick of things every day on every project and standing back as you say, and handing out water bottles. I love that picture. Well, what are some leader so we've talked about empowerment and support and enabling the team to be successful?
It's just those sorts of things. What are some other sort of leadership principles, concepts that you really sort of hold dear, that are foundational back to your whole spiritual framework? But what are some things that are sort of foundational to the way you see leadership and your role from a leadership perspective? Well, I mean, again, to kind of, again, steer ourselves back toward more of a spiritual realm. To me, you know, the Lord chose 1212, that he led 12, that he mentored well, that he discipled. You know, I think that's a big part of being a great leader is picking a core group that you trust, and trusting them to lead. Because know, at some point, you got to be doing, you got to be creating a succession plan, and you can't be afraid to
allow, allow them to take the knowledge that you have, because I think a lot of leaders that certainly there's a huge issue with sharing because they don't want to lose power. And so that certainly can be a struggle for leaders is, is the loss of power. But when you've got great leaders, and you got people you trust, you don't have to worry about that huge power struggle behind the scenes. Yeah, so So form a cohesive, core group, right, that you can trust. And again, you're saying kind of the word Empower, trust them to it and trusting them. So you can share information with them, as opposed to hoarding power hoarding information? Yeah, those are the right
sort of thing that I would probably bring out is kind of more personal. As a leader, you've got to take a tap take time to rest. And again, kind of back to Biblical mindset is that it Lord, you know, he worked really hard for six days, on the seventh day he rested. And I think that's really important as leader is to take time for yourself, take time for your family, I struggle that probably more than anybody, my wife and I were talking about just last night that we've got to take some time for ourselves going date, get away, it's really hard to, to completely disconnect yourself in this role. Because of cell phones and laptops and such, it's so easy to, to grab access, anytime of the day. And so taking time to rest is so important to ensure that you have longevity this job because this could be a job, you could certainly burn out in really quickly. Yeah, and it but it's yet like you say it's so hard to do that we we want to know that everything is perfect. And in order and that we need to be there to shepherd it every inch of the way. And you're saying no, there's a time to disconnect. And I think that is a That's wisdom. And it's it's
it's sort of a leadership concept, though, that we need to be balanced in our approach. And we refer to it as self care. In our workshops, we like to encourage people in eight areas of self care with friendships, financial professional, like you say spiritual,
physical, being healthy. We had a guy the other day, Eric, in one of our groups who we encouraged in a self care area. And he said, You know what I used to,
I used to have an RV. And I think I'm gonna go buy another RV and go camping on the weekend. And he did like, three or four weeks later, he said, I bought the RV.
That's great. You know, so this from a leadership perspective, we have to be healthy is what you're saying we have to be healthy. And I think that's a great a great leadership concept to keep in mind. Yep.
so there's the day to day, we're, again, we got parks people on the podcast, we got library, we got community developer, all sorts of different people on the call. We have this all these day to day things that day to day management. And then we have these leadership ideas. How do we how do we do both at the same time, any any thoughts about because it's like in one minute, you're, you're you're you're resolving conflict, okay? That's a managerial kind of activity. Yet, the next minute, you're you're thinking about some strategic plan idea or something. It's like, there's the day just kind of bounced back and forth, or how can you actually kind of integrate maybe? Yeah, both management leadership, I guess for me, I mean, that's, that's what I love my job. And that's what makes my job so much fun is that every day it's something completely different. You know, yesterday morning, I had a meeting with our County Association for two hours. I ran from there in between there and my next meeting, which was a construction meeting, which was totally different.
Took a couple phone calls about some personnel matters.
When I left the construction meeting, I ran over to a meeting about Council on Aging, it was the senior center board of directors, I came back here and had to deal with the termination of an employee. So
that's why I love the job. I mean, that, to me, that's, that's what's so exciting about this job is every single day around every corner is something new. And so
if that aspect of the job does excite you, that you may be in the wrong career. Because this is not a, this was not a
eight hour in a cubicle type of job. This is a job that requires you to be out to be flexible, to be willing to do things that are outside your comfort zone. And that's what I absolutely love. Yeah, yeah, we really, you know, want to encourage the folks listening, that there are two worlds, there's this management requirement, we have to maintain operations, and we need to advance advance operations grow. And the advancing operations is all about, hey, where are we going? And what are the roadblocks that might be in the way? And what partnerships do we need? What resources do we need? What budget do we need? Those are sort of future looking things. But at the same time, we got to get the job done. Yeah, I'm a, I'm a huge proponent of communication, I mean, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, you can't communicate enough, because it takes gonna kind of learned the church in the church world, I'm leading our church through a revitalization process. Right now, I'm the chairman of the revitalization committee. And, you know, some, you know, I tell them, and they, and they just, they love it, and they run with it, and they hear it and they move forward. Others take a much longer time to hear and digest information. And so
I probably am known by my commissioners, as an over communicator. I text them everything, I want them to be in the know, I don't want them to ever be surprised by something. You know, certainly from time to time, I forget something I dropped the ball. But ultimately, I feel like my job is to ensure that they know as much as possible, so they can make the right decisions.
Tell them that often is my job is to to give them all the tools to allow them to make the decision. Once they've made that decision. My opinion really doesn't matter that point my job support them. Yeah. Yeah. Another I think, I think that could be described as another leadership characteristic, this this focus on communication. And I think inside of that there is setting expectations too, which is, which is sort of a leadership idea of, you know, here's where we're going here, the resources we're going to supply you with. And here's what we expect. Here's what I expect sort of setting the goal, if you will, for the team. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I wanted to go back to your county manager that you trained under for a while Spalding County. I wanted to just ask you, as you think about him,
on the years that you were
working for him, you said he was a good leader, I just love to sort of hear from you, you know, some attribute that you saw in him that really stood and made an impression on you, and it sort of sticks with you today?
Well, I mean, I think about I mean, you always hear this people say, Oh, my doors always open. And his office and office were right across from one another. And we spent so much time together. Because I was always asked him questions. And he was always willing to share, which that's to me, that was what I took away is that, and I hope all my employees will same way they can reach out to me anytime in the day and night. Because I'm a, as I said, I'm an over communicator.
His his, his his plan base was if I buy you a cell phone, you better answer it. And so and I certainly take advantage of that. Here is a lot of my employees have cell phones. And I am notorious for sending a message at 10 o'clock at night, when I have a question to call them.
But at the same time, it works both ways. If they have an issue, I tell them, my cell phone, sits on a charger next to my bed all night long. And if you have a problem, I want you to call me because I'm here to support you. Yeah. You know, you mentioned working together and open door and I heard a quote recently that says that one of our best abilities as a leader is accessibility, accessibility. And, you know, being available to collaborate and think and talk and listen, right? And now there's there's a line where we can't be overly accessible and have a bad boundary. We'll have a line of folks in our office all day.
But even even you think about it at a supervisory level or crew, a crew leader or Community Development Manager, yeah, there are people that that operate with the door shut all day, right?
I've got to say, if you've ever been my office, I'm not sure if you have or not. But I've got sort of a, I've got to have a broken off in three spaces. And so I've got my desk, which I'm sitting at right now. And then just beyond my desk, I've got a, like a love seat and two comfy chairs, and then a rocking chair, Ibanez rocking chair, that's my, that's my spot that's like, that's where the king rocks, you know, when you can talk to you. And so and then beyond that I've got door leads into about a conference room that holds about 10 people. And so,
you know, anytime someone comes in the office, I get up in behind my desk, I go sit in the rocking chair, there on the couch, you know, not that I'm like a psychiatrist or anything, but I certainly want them to feel comfortable, I want to feel like I'm coming down to their level. And so, you know, not that I'm some kind of, I think about the kind of if you've ever seen the word, I guess, the final Batman movie, where, you know, the the scarecrow is the judge, he's sitting up on these big books, you know, I hear people coming to grovel, you know, like the king, and I never wanted to be that way, I sort of want to have that, where I am going down, and I'm at their level, I'm having a, a intimate conversation with them. And I want them to feel important when they come to me. Mm hmm. Yeah, that's another that's another leadership principle, I think is is is creating an authentic and safe, right place for people to communicate. Hey, last question, I want to ask you, and then we'll close out. Yeah, I want to go back to what you talked about the very beginning. And that's your your faith. And, you know, we don't talk a lot about faith, or you don't hear it talked about a lot in local government or probably even in the private industry. But for you and me, it kind of undergirds like who you are, right? It's a foundational component of your life, maybe it is your life, right. And I just wonder if you could
just talk about how, how your faith has informed your leadership, you touched on at the beginning, how your faith has informed your leadership, the way you think the way you see people? Not that this is for everybody, this is your this is your life. Right?
So could you just kind of speak to that as we close out? Well, I mean, I think the Lord says the greatest commandment is to love, right. And so that's my job is to is to love the citizens love my family, love my co workers love, love my subordinates. And love is such a broad term. And so, you know, to love sometimes means discipline, love sometimes means to pat on the back, love sometimes means they need a hug. And so we've got to be willing to, to allow ourselves to cross those boundaries, so that we can really love the people that were around. And so I think that's a big part of who I am. I certainly, you know, again, in my role can come across sometimes as intimidating. But at the same time, you know, just yesterday, I had an employee in my office, and she was crying, and,
you know, probably kitten hugger, but you want to know, I gave her, I gave her a chocolate chip cookie, you know, and I said, you know, I probably can't make it better. But here's a cookie. And she, she appreciated it. I mean, it wasn't, you know, it wasn't a huge hug, or, you know, a lot of empathy, but a cookie, you know, let's just break it down and have a discussion. And so, and we had a great discussion, and I hope we have a plan moving forward to deal with the issue that she has. But again, I mean, you've got to be able to be yourself in organization. The other thing that I was I mentioned is I pray for my employees, and I pray for them personally, but also pray for them corporately. And so we talked about earlier about having that core group, crew group of 12. Well, I've got that core group. And every Monday morning, we get together and at the end of every meeting, I pray for them.
This past Monday, we had a department head staffing where I had 30 to 40 people in there. And then I said, Guys, I'm gonna close today, like a close every other meeting, and I'm gonna pray for us. And so, yeah, I'm not. I'm not telling them what to believe. And I'm not telling you how to believe and I'm going to share how I believe. Yeah, that's how I believe it as leader. Because, again, you know, this is freedom of speech in this in this community in this country. And I want to speak how I feel. Yeah, yeah. And it's not about you. It's about others. It's about loving and caring for others. I really, really liked the way you set that up because foundationally if I care for my employees, my team if I love them, then I'm going to act that way. I'm going to give them resources, fight for them, give them empower them, encourage them, equip them, point the way to where we're going so they can
and be successful, setting them up for success. All those things come from a place of love and care for their success. And so Wow, what a, what a great, what a great sort of very basic concept. I think the last thing I mentioned is, is that even as a leader, you got to have someone leading you as well. And so
I still have mentors that I lean on. I've got five amazing commissioners who have been so willing to allow me to lead our organization and trust me to do so.
My father, my pastor, my friends, I've got some great mentors that I have come alongside that I can call upon when I have a question. And I know they have my back. And I think that's important too, is as a as a leader, someone, you know, no one doesn't have a boss, everybody has a boss. Even if they don't think they do. There's still somebody there that they gotta be willing to lean on. So So again, you never quit learning. You never quit learning to lead. Because if you ever stop learning to lead, I think you're gonna fail. Yeah, it's great. Yeah. Having a mentor means that you don't know everything. And that's, that's a that's a humbling characteristic of a leader. I love that. Thank you so much for being with us today and sharing for a few minutes. Eric really, really definitely shaded. Yeah. Yeah. If if you are listening and you have a topic that you want us to talk about in our podcast program, you're welcome to reach out to us at info at leader gov.com or Bill ll at leader gov.com. We love what we do. We love serving and helping local government leaders grow and we hope you have a really, really great day and we look forward to having you back at our next podcast. Take care.