Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#Leadership Lessons from Steve Harvey

The 2015 Ms. Universe Pageant will go down as one of the biggest mistakes in the history of mistakes, as there is no doubt that Steve Harvey will always be remembered for naming the wrong person, Ms. Columbia, as the winner of the prestigious event.  In the days following the pageant, Harvey was the target of endless jokes and memes that not only highlighted his mistake.  They glorified it.  What was verified is that leaders live a cruel world where people will make darn sure that your mistakes at least will define you if they don't destroy you.

Here's why leaders should pay close attention...

Immediately following the mistake, Steve Harvey epitomized this quote. 

"Mistakes don't define you; your response to them does." 

Instead of hiding from responsibility and gathering a council of advisors to help him avoid the fallout, Harvey immediately owned his gaffe in front of the entire world to see.  He didn't deflect and the use typical avoidance strategies that high-profile leaders use.  He said, "It was completely my fault".  What a simple, yet courageous statement.  

Leaders must accept the fact that they are going to screw up and make mistakes, and some of the them will be 'really' bad.  What followers appreciate and gravitate toward is not an infallible leader, but a leader who shows he is mortal and capable of messing up from time to time.    People follow courage, not perfection.

Thank you, Steve!

If it weren't for Steve, most people wouldn't have even known there was a Ms. Universe pageant, and they definitely wouldn't have known who won it.  In fact, if his mistake did one good thing, it was show more people that the pageant is still alive and well.  You can be sure that more viewers will definitely pay close attention to the pageant next year.

But the greatest thing that we should all be thankful for is the leadership example that Steve displayed for all of us to emulate.  To make a massive mistake in front of the entire world is one thing, but to face it head-on and overcome the outrage and insults that followed sends a powerful message to all of us that leadership is defined by the courage and conviction that leaders have when they have to admit to the world that they were wrong.  Now how much better off would our world be if our government had more politicians like that? (sorry, had to say it).  The reality is that more organizations and governments deserve completely transparent leaders like Steve.

Thank you, Steve, for the courage that you displayed and for the leadership example that you displayed.  There will come a day when every leader, including myself, will eventually mess up in front of the world and will need a successful example to follow.

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