We expect our bosses to understand what we do and how well we do it. We expect to be rewarded and compensated fairly. We expect that the decisions made will be the right ones.
We have been trained to expect perfection from our leaders.
And yet, everyone makes mistakes. Yes, even bosses and authority figures sometimes make the wrong call.
Well-meaning bosses have been known to sign their teams up for commitments that they can’t deliver on. They may have appraised one employee unfairly, or promoted the wrong employee. These mistakes often mean very little in the grand scheme of things, but sometimes they can create chaos within a team, or even result in employees losing their jobs.
Recently the sporting world brought us two examples of authority figures making the wrong call. First, there was the case of the “imperfect” game, when baseball umpire Jim Joyce called a Cleveland player safe at first base, upsetting what would have been a perfect game (i.e. no one reaches base) for Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga. Everyone agreed that the replays clearly showed that it should been called an out, but NBC Sports and other news outlets reported that the decision would not be overturned. Sure, the Detroit Tigers still won the game, but the record books will never credit Galarraga with what he accomplished.
Even more recently, World Cup soccer brought us another example of the wrong call when referee Koman Coulibaly disallowed what should have been the game-winning goal by the United States in their match against Slovenia. We all saw it – Maurice Edu’s kick in the 86th minute went straight into the net. Experts agree that Edu was not offside, and yet his goal was simply wiped away with the wrong call. The team was never given an explanation for the call.
What makes the first of these example exceptional and noteworthy was umpire Jim Joyce’s apology to Galarraga. He admitted that he made a mistake.
All bosses make mistakes – even good bosses. One difference between an okay boss and a great boss is that the great boss will admit that he made a mistake and strive to do better the next time.
Have you been affected by a boss or leader who made the wrong call? What impact did it have on you?