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Every morning when my favorite radio shows go to commercial, I may just switch over to another channel. Where I live, the other channel happens to be one that airs the Steve Harvey Morning Show. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest Harvey fan and never really have been, but over the last few years his over exposer has made me hypersensitive to my non-fandom. But I understand that as situations and careers change, so to will people and their habits, beliefs and ways of dealing with things.
A few weeks back, news came out from a soon-to-be displace employee of Harvey’s TV talk show that a memo was distributed in the building from Harvey. This memo all but told his employees that under no circumstances should they approach him.
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While I in no way feel sorry for Harvey, I do understand that the higher you rise in a corporation, the more in demand you are. Time is valuable and oftentimes there’s not a lot for yourself. That comes with success, power and responsibility. On the flip side; however, there must be boundaries. People must respect one’s space. There is a time and place for everything. Yet there are professional ways to set said boundaries. There are correct ways to communicate expectations to employees. So while “preaching” to fans, callers and viewers about how they should take responsibility for their actions and how people should handle relationships, it’s not OK for someone to then turn around and be an unapologetic ass to the hundreds people they employee. Leaders cannot live by the “do as I say, not as I do” code.
In typical Harvey fashion (which is why he’s not my favorite), instead of owning the way it was done, he used his radio platform to justify and explain away his actions. While he stated, “in hindsight, I probably should’ve handled it a bit differently” he then continued to give his #FirstWorldProblems as to why he did what he did. On a show where he gives advice on how to and how not to treat people, he (along with his Amen corner) explains how busy he is and how he cannot get from one end of the building to the other without someone stopping and talking to him. How he can’t get his make up done without people beating down his door…how he can’t eat his lunch in peace and that people have “taken advantage” of his open-door policy.
Must people have appointments to speak with you? Ok, that’s fair, but say that, without alienating or by issuing warnings. Is time needed to focus and to prepare for important meetings? Then communicate that to ensure employee concerns are heard and handled accordingly by leaving them with or discussing them with assistants that can then relay the info at a more opportune time. “Don’t approach me” doesn’t fly in today’s business environment, no matter who you are. Not when you also want people to buy into what you’re selling. If employee’s have business related concerns and issues, they are not and should not be concerned with their “leader’s” concern for “the good of my personal life and enjoyment.”
If you want to be a leader, you must also learn to deal with the fact that your time at work is not your own anymore. When you want the title, the fame, the salary and the position, it comes with a price. For every action, there is a reaction, and when that action is a negative one toward employees that have done nothing wrong, then own it, pledge to do better and then do better. No one wants to hear how sad and tired you are as a leader, because frankly, that’s not their issue and they’re not paid enough for it to be. That’s what people that have “made it” do.