The Leadership Feeling

I have been fortunate to work for and with great city management leaders. My career was given a start by a city manager after I told him that I had no idea what he was talking about during the interview. Then, there was the city manager that challenged me professionally and gave me my first big promotion and the city manager who literally tiled my kitchen floor and comforted us during a concerning pregnancy.

There are numerous other examples from leaders from within our profession who have taken the time to invest in me, my family, and my career. Whether career advice or encouragement in passing from leaders and colleagues, or the gift of years of advice, encouragement, and challenges from my mentors, this profession has generally been very friendly and focused on the betterment of local government and the future leaders for local government.

Last week, May 28th marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of the legendary Maya Angelou, an American author, poet, and actress. Ms. Angelou’s career spanned more than fifty years. She was involved in the Civil Rights Movement and spent time with national and world leaders.

In honor of her passing, I read some of her more famous quotes from various works and speeches. One stuck with me:

People will forget what you said,

People will forget what you did,

But people will never forget

How you made them feel.

As leaders, we often get caught up building a persona that we think leaders should possess or finding the words that we think leaders should use. At the end of the day, it is not about what you say or what you do; it is about how you make others feel.

So, take time to mentor the future generation of local government. Take time to get to know your employees. Take time to show that you care about your citizens. Take time.

When your career is completed, you will have developed future leaders, impacted your organization, and bettered your city.


Written by:
Katie Corder
Executive Search Manager

One response

  1. I was reminded of just this the other day. It starts with how you answer the phone! I had the great misfortune to hear the first word ‘yes?’ Not ‘hello’, not ‘good morning’ just a totally disinterested ‘yes?’
    Wow, what a great first impression! We always answer the phone with ‘good morning, how can I help you?’ Just recently I was reminded of how easy it is to make friends of your clients. One of them was just flabbergasted that someone cared enough about what he needed to do whatever it took to help resolve his problem – ‘no one EVER behaves like this any more’ he said. Which seems both sad and stupid – who do you think will be getting his return business?

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