current events

Superbowl 50: Like Steve Harvey Owning up your mistakes in the workplace

When Steve Harvey messed up the Miss Universe announcement, he came onto stage and admitted his mistake.Back in December, Harvey mistakenly announced that Miss Colombia had been crowned Miss Universe, though the actual winner was Miss Philippines. On late night television and Twitter he was made fun of for his supposedly egregious mistake.  Mis Colombia eventually had a fit as well talking about how she was disgraced. It was a mistake. Yes, Steve Harvey’s hosting of Miss Universe was high stakes but mistakes do happen.

In my view, Steve Harvey’s mistake wasn’t as bad as when the Seattle Seahawks made a bad pass play call at the 1-yard line giving the New England Patriots the win. As a New Yorker, anything that gives Tom Brady a win, I find to be objectionable. It was demoralizing. I wanted the underdog to win.  Sometimes the underdog despite the soaring rock song in the background, loses just the way Rocky lost at the end of that first movie (oops -spoiler alert).  Anyway back to Steven Harvey.

Steve Harvey capitalized on his mistake ownership by starring in a T-Mobile commercial that attempts to refute information presented in a  rival Verizon commercial.  He comes off as a guy that can make fun of himself while owning up to his mistake.


We can all take a lesson from Steve harvey and we can thank the Superbowl for reminding millions of Americans about it.

See, here is the thing. I tell my management team everyday there are two things a good manager does: apologizes and shows gratitude.   When I am in a meeting where managers blame everyone but themselves, I know I have a lot of work to do in terms of staff growth. I was recently in a meeting, where clearly two individuals made a mistake yet they allowed their project partner to apologize for not making sure to have followed up with them on their mistake. I sat there wondering what had just happened. This person was apologizing for not catching the others’ mistakes and the others didn’t apologize at all. Managers have to have humility, that is my belief. And I sat there just flabbergasted.

When they interviewed the coach for the Carolina Panthers at halftime, he noted that the team made mistakes and they couldn’t afford to that in the second half.  First part of turning things is around, is owning up to mistakes and learning from them. I would have loved to have been in that locker room moment of reflection.

Steve Harvey tweeted “Messed up big? Tell the world how by using #BALLOGIZE”  I sure hope people take this as a chance to ballogize and change things up. It is never too late to learn how to apologize and own up to one’s mistakes. For some, it is indeed a skill set that has to be learned.  However, what should help is knowing that apologizing moves the conversation forward, for the most part and you come out looking magnanimous. Staff can appreciate a boss that shows such humility. So, if you anoint the wrong winner, own it and laugh at yourself and you will get some good will and probably more productive team members.



1 reply »

  1. When I was managing a group I made a terrible and very public mistake. It affected all of the people in my group negatively. I sat with each of them and apologized individually. It felt like the only right thing to do. I expected to be fired but I could at least make the gesture to the people I had hurt.

    I was later told by many of them that this was the best thing they thought I had ever done. That they trusted me after that. Despite the terrible mistake the effected them negatively, they trusted me because I apologized. I wasn’t fired for it. I often wonder if that apology helped that.

    That taught me a HUGE lesson about people, about me and about work. Treat work relationships and work decisions like you treat decisions with your family and friends. Too many people have a separate set of ethics for work. They do things they would never do in their personal life because that’s how business works or that’s how you get ahead.

    But the reality is that you feel better about yourself and people feel better about you if you act with the same best intentions that you put into your personal life.


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