Leaders Take The Time To Listen

Brian Sandoval had it made with a life time appointment as a federal judge. However, Sandoval walked away from his safe life time appointment to run for Governor of Nevada. After he won the Governor’s race in 2010, Sondoval walked into a tough situation:

– Nevada had the nation’s highest unemployment rate
– a crushed housing market and
– a looming $3 billion budget deficit.

As a Republican governor Sandoval worked with Democratic legislators to close the state’s budget deficit. Sandoval raised taxes and obtained support from Democrats for spending cuts, as well as education reforms that were on the governor’s to-do list: reforming teacher tenure and instituting performance pay for teachers.

How was Sandoval able to achieve success? According to a Governing article:

“I think it’s really important to listen to everyone and to see what their goals are. I think it paid dividends in the end.” “We may not have agreed all the time, but we had a very good relationship. So when it came down to crunch time, we were able to get things done,” Sandoval says.

Upon taking office Sandoval personally meet with all 63 legislators so he could learn about their priorities for the state. The previous administration had developed a reputation for being uninterested, even lazy. “He’s been much more engaged in the process, and that makes a difference if you’re going to work together,” says state Sen. Mo Denis, the Democratic caucus leader. “We’re able to sit down and talk, even though we don’t always agree. That’s an important part of trying to figure out solutions.”

Sandoval personally met with 63 legislators, yet in many local governments the County Executive or Mayor will rarely if ever meet with their fellow elected officials, which consist of 9 to 20 something members. Too many local government leaders take the my way or the highway approach in that they expect their submitted budgets and legislative items to pass without any changes being made.

We need more leaders like Sandoval who take the time to listen to the goals and priorities of the elected officials they must work with to get things done.


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