Perspective Interview with Mayor Ron Anders, Jr.
When I decided I wanted to share perspectives from successful professionals in order to help others in their careers, I made a list of people I wanted to interview. I wrote “Ron Anders” name down but doubted myself to even ask him. I convinced myself he was busy or would not be able to give the interview because of other commitments or wouldn’t want to be interviewed (as he is always asked questions). I learned a great lesson this week, JUST ASK. What is the worst that can happen?
I reached out to Mayor Ron Anders for the last of our 4 interviews with the encouragement of another professional. When I did, I got an immediate positive response from Mayor Anders (who I know as Ron). Though I know you will gain great insight and perspective from Ron’s words below, I also want you to be encouraged to trust your relationships. Don’t let yourself create ‘what ifs’ and doubts before you have even tried or asked. If you have put the effort into a relationship, you are in a place to ask.
If you only ask and never show up generously for others, you may miss out on amazing opportunities like interviewing a great leader and servant like Ron Anders.
How has Perspective affected your career?
My perspective was shaped by my family and the family bookstore business (Anders Bookstore). Watching my family and what they did in a retail business affected me greatly as a professional.
Retail is competitive. The only things you could count on were your efforts and the opportunities that walked in the door each day. Your business could suffer easily.
Thus retail formed a service mindset for me. We earned customers by serving them well. Whether that was communicating what we had to offer or offering them a healthy environment when they came in the door.
It is what I do now with Tailgate Guys and it is what drove me to run for mayor. I want to make things better for other people. I am motived to improve someone’s life whether they work for me or I am selling a service to them or I am talking to them in the grocery store.
When you are sincere in what you do you can then mold a successful career.
From your perspective as a leader, what is most important to you?
It is most important to me that I serve those that I work with. Meaning that I am available to them on a work level or personal level. And that they are treated with the honor that they deserve.
How do you do this on a daily basis?
It’s simple … when they do good … I tell them!
From your perspective as a leader, what advice do you have for other leaders?
A leader does not come with a stick, but with a big heart and listening ear.
There are times when accountability is necessary but at the right time and in the right way.
The opportunity to be a successful leader comes from a desire to be interested in your employees’ lives. This assists with accountability later on. It is easier to have those hard conversations (holding your employees accountable) when you have already built that relational bridge with them and know them as people.
Additionally, accountability can’t be sat on. If your convictions tell you to address something, DO IT! You owe it to your company, to the employee and to everyone else who works there.
If you don’t have those hard conversations, it does that employee a disservice. So be an invested leader who knows their employees.
Lastly, if you are only hiring people to do tasks for you and you aren’t invested in them as people, it won’t end well.
From your perspective as a leader, what advice do you have for professionals?
There are 3 things I like to share with professionals and recently shared with the Auburn Young Professionals group:
1. You’ve got to make sure your personal life is strong. Ask yourself, am I taking care of myself? Is my home life stable and thriving?
2. Next, are you doing your job to the BEST of your ability? Whether it is your long term job or not - are you doing everything to grow right now in your current job?
3. If the first 2 things are under control, then ask yourself “Are there opportunities to serve?”
Seek your heart about what you are passionate about. Find 1 opportunity and find out how you can serve. Not multiple things. One thing.
You must be passionate about it. Don’t be there for the wrong reasons. Don't do it unless you are fully committed. Nobody benefits when you are half way about anything.
From your perspective as someone who ran for mayor and was elected into the position, what advice would you give someone who is considering pursuing something daunting or new?
Before you decide to run for mayor or pursue a position of leadership, you have to search your heart. You have to seek if it is really what you should be doing. You have to uncover if you are called to it. If there is resistance, you shouldn’t do it. If it is an emotional decision, you shouldn’t do it. From experience … running for a position of leadership is challenging. You will give up if your reasoning is based on emotions.
My first question when reviewing someone’s application to serve on a board (position of leadership) is “Do they have an agenda or are they motivated by something they are angry about? OR are they interested and want to serve?”
So your decision has to be wholehearted. You have to be all in. You can’t take a day off.
If you are less than all in, you won’t win or achieve what you want.
If you are less than all in and win, you will be less of a leader.
Once you decide to fully commit, you need to find people you can trust and that you can share with during the process. Once you find that person or people, you have to allow them to give you advice.
From your perspective as an elected mayor, what perspective can you share with others?
I just wish everybody would seek the truth from the source before making assumptions.
As a mayor, I am doing everything I can to share the truth directly. We are providing multiple ways for people to find the truth directly from the source and we will continue to do this.
It is the responsibility of each person to seek the truth directly from the source.
I am thankful that technology allows us to do this.
To learn more about Ron’s background, visit the City of Auburn’s website here.
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