As he prepares to leave office at the end of Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has shown himself to be both defiant in his views, particularly about the state sexual-harassment investigation that led to his resignation, and determined to work till seemingly the very last minute.
But is that the right way to go about exiting a job?
Workplace experts say it is generally a good idea to make a quiet, dignified departure, and to also ensure that anyone taking over your position assumes at least some responsibility before you step aside.
Many disgruntled employees are tempted to have the last word.
“I always say it’s best to go in grace,” said Kelly DuFord Williams, founding partner and employment attorney for Slate Law Group, a California-based firm.
Cuomo, the Democrat who has served for a decade, delivered a strongly worded speech released on Monday that defied the going-without-a-fuss standard.
In particular, he challenged the investigation that prompted his decision to leave his post, much as he did when he announced his resignation two weeks ago.
“The truth is, ultimately, always revealed,” he said on Monday, while adding that he felt it was best to resign in order to not interfere with the state’s need to move forward.
Certainly, many disgruntled employees who leave a job are tempted to have the last critical word, workplace experts note. And in some cases, they may indeed be justified to deliver a harsh departing message.
The temptation to have the last word
But experts say they should be aware of the price of such a message, justified or not, in terms of the stir it can create and how it could affect their future chances for employment.
“If you’re going to air these grievances, are you prepared to fully own the consequences?” said Christine Sachs, a New York-based executive coach.
Cuomo also generated some controversy in his final days as he took charge of the state’s efforts to prepare for Hurricane Henri, the storm that eventually made landfall in the Northeast as a tropical storm.
There’s inevitably the risk of a leader overstaying his or her welcome.
Questions were raised as to whether Cuomo should have deferred more to his successor, Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who has served as lieutenant governor.
“The lieutenant governor has been briefed on all of this, and we’re in constant communication,” Cuomo said at a Saturday news conference.
Workplace experts say that planning for executive transition is always challenging, and there’s inevitably the risk of a leader overstaying his or her welcome rather than fully handing off responsibilities to a successor.
But every situation is unique, said Sachs, the business coach. And if there’s a crisis in the midst of a transition, it can only complicate the passing of the executive torch.
“The ideal version is that there’s some agreement that satisfies both parties,” said Sachs.