My views on leadership – Bill Steiner

single-meta-cal July 20, 2017

Name: Bill Steiner

Age: 59

Title: Director of Information Technology Services

Family: Wife Alice and one stepson (Joshua) who is in the Navy and stationed in Japan. Mother and sister live in Huntsville.

Education: Dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Management Information Sciences and Computer Information Sciences; Master of Arts in Computer Resources and Information Management and a Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security.

Background: Retired from the U. S. Air Force after serving almost 24 years’ active duty.

What You Didn’t Know:  Made a perfect 36 on the math portion of the ACT test when I was young and had more active brain cells.

Leadership: As you can imagine, my philosophies on leadership were shaped by my time in the military. Training their leaders is one area where the military excels. I added the hours up one day and throughout my military career I took part in over 800 hours of formal leadership training!

Admittedly, classroom training and real life can be two different things but studying the underlying theory behind subjects such as Organizational Behavior and Change Management definitely give a person better insight and a different perspective when leading.

If I had to pick one, I would say my primary leadership tenet would be “Lead by Example.” You’ve got to have the respect of your people if you expect them to follow you. Demonstrating a positive work ethic to employees at all times is important. The “do as I say, not as I do” mentality will not get you very far at all.

Along these same lines I think it is very important to be able to admit when you make a mistake. Even the greatest leaders can make a mistake and taking ownership and correcting mistakes is a very important lesson to demonstrate.

One of the more important things I have learned was not by leading, but as a follower. It became very evident to me over the years that as you move through your career, you can learn very important lessons from your bad supervisors or leaders. You learn how not to lead or how not to treat people. Sometimes you can learn more from a bad supervisor than you will from a good one.

We’ve all probably had a bad supervisor sometime in our life and were treated unfairly, and you still remember the experience to this day. This is something I like to remind my managers and supervisors about when I’m mentoring them and to date, everyone I talk to can relate a past incident in their life. This reminds them how important fairness is and how their actions can affect an employee and their performance for a long time. Fairness will breed respect or more importantly if you aren’t fair across the board, employees will know it and you will lose their respect.

The last words of advice I could give folks in leadership positions is Mentor, Mentor, Mentor! It’s too easy to fall into that trap where you think the upcoming leaders under you will just pick it up as they go. Maybe they will, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t help them along and give them all the benefits of your lessons learned through the years.

‘My views on leadership’ is a regular CityBlog series highlighting City of Huntsville Department Heads and their leadership style.