What did Steve Harvey teach us?

184c5bd077e6d93d74957aac625851fcBy now, most of you are probably aware of Steve Harvey’s much maligned mistake at the conclusion of last weekend’s Miss Universe pageant.  If you’re not, I’ll give you the abbreviated version.  With only two contestants remaining in the competition, he announced the wrong winner on live television.  While the supposed winner donned her crown, Mr. Harvey grabbed the microphone and immediately admitted his mistake, thus handing over the crown to the real winner.    

Not surprisingly, immediately following this live television blunder, the social media world became a virtual roast of Steve Harvey.  As you well know, it’s easy to be a critic from behind the safety of your computer screen. 

The purpose of this blog is not to condemn those who made him the butt of their jokes, but rather to highlight the way in which he responded to his mistake. 

Rather than walking off the stage and letting someone else make the announcement, he immediately owned it with a sincere apology and sought to clean it up by making right his wrong. 

This is precisely what I teach students every day.  When you make a mistake, hiding behind it with an excuse shield or reaching for the nearest blame thrower only compounds the problem and severs trust with those affected by the mistake. 

Let’s face it.  We all make mistakes – some more egregious than others.  The only difference is that our blunders aren’t seen by a live television audience of millions.  I would argue that if they were, in an effort to save face, our default response would often be to reach for the excuse shield or blame thrower.  After all, mistakes are bad, right?  No, mistakes are part of the human experience.      

While owning a mistake often takes a great deal of courage and requires a certain level of vulnerability, it’s the only way to gain wisdom and insight moving forward. 

I know very little about Steve Harvey’s character, but based on his response to last weekend’s mistake, I can tell you that authenticity and humility are an integral part of his value system. 

By the way, if you want to read about an ineffective response to a mistake, search for the name Odell Beckham Jr.

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