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Governor elect Andrew Cuomo is in the process of putting together his team to address the difficult prospect of reforming New York State government. In his first public appearance after the election Cuomo was asked what three tasks he hopes to accomplish before his January 1, 2011 swearing in and his response was: “Talent, talent, talent”. Cuomo has additionally stated that “any organization is only as good as its talent.”

Cuomo has a notorious reputation as being a nasty political operative. As former Governor Eliot Spitzer stated “The problem that Andrew has is that everybody knows that behind the scenes, he is the dirtiest, nastiest political player out there, and that is his reputation from years in Washington.” The New York Times recently did an interesting profile of Cuomo’s leadership style and in many ways it paints a picture of a leader that talented people might not enjoy working for. Some quotes from the article:

“… he has … alienated subordinates, who call his demands unrealistic, his approach overbearing and his intolerance for disagreement dispiriting.”

“… he will have to learn to trust and empower a broader circle of subordinates, and allow for pushback. If he does not, he could fail.”

I continue to be amazed at how arrogant many elected officials are regardless of how high an office they hold. They have a tendency to be overbearing, they are unwilling to listen to others and refuse to empower others to make decisions. As a leader, one cannot run a department or even state government if they are a poor team leader.

Talented individuals are usually employed, and have the option of staying where they are or taking on a new opportunity. If they are going to tackle a new opportunity, talented people want to work for an organization that has a positive culture, where their opinions matter and they are not micromanaged by an overbearing insecure boss. While I have never interacted with Cuomo many articles mention that he has leadership flaws that if not addressed and corrected could prevent him from building a great, talented team.

In order to reform New York State government, Cuomo’s success or failure will be hinge upon his ability to build and lead a quality team.

What do you think talented people seek when joining an organization? Do you think Cuomo has the ability to build and lead a quality team?

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