Name: Trey Riley
Title: City Attorney
Family: Wife Emily, son Logan
Education: University Place Elementary, Evangel School, Westlawn Junior High, Butler High, Auburn University and University of Alabama School of Law
Background: Riley first served as Assistant District Attorney before establishing a private solo practice in 1981. He maintained that practice until Jan. 1, 2016, when he replaced Peter Joffrion as City Attorney.
What You Didn’t Know: I grew up with five younger sisters, “so it wasn’t really fair. But I don’t know who it was most unfair to.”
Riley on Leadership: “If I wanted to give you the Cliff Notes version of leadership, it would be to make sure you take a job in leadership where the person who preceded you in the position had filled the staff with excellent and qualified individuals, all of whom want to help you every way they can. That’s what I benefit from every day.
I feel a little embarrassed talking about my leadership, because my primary skill is to step back and not get in the way of the people who work for me.
As far as principles, it’s important to learn to delegate your duties. As Andrew Carnegie said, “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all by himself and get all the credit himself.”
That dovetails into my second thing, that you should share credit. If you see someone taking all the credit, they’re not being honest with themselves or others. A fellow I read once said, “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” I thought that was sage advice.
One of my final thoughts is you need to treat people that work for you, and upon whom you’re dependent, as though you expect good things to happen. So far I haven’t been disappointed.
‘My views on leadership’ is a regular CityBlog series. Get to know a new City of Huntsville Department Head and their leadership style in this series.