cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Lorenzo
Reffing a few years ago, I was officiating a college game with a three-person crew, I felt that none of the calls were coming my way at all that night. Sometimes that is just the normal ebb and flow of the game, but I didn’t want to seem that I was not doing my job.
As one of the plays was happening, I ended up “reaching” across the floor and made a call that was a) not mine to make and b) terrible. I knew it the second I made it but in the way the game is played, you have to sometimes stick with your mistakes. As I walked towards the scorer’s table to report the foul, the coach was YELLING at me and I simply said, “Coach…the next break we have I will come over and talk to you.”
That settled him down for about a few seconds but then he decided to call a time-out to ensure that there was a chance to talk to me. As I walked over to him, my fellow officials, who knew I made a horrible call, told me NOT to go. As his face was red, ready to argue with me about my call, I simply looked at him and said, “Coach, there is no need to argue because I agree with you. It was a terrible call and I am going to work my butt off to make sure I get the rest of them right. My bad.” He smiled at me, nodded his head, we parted ways, and the game continued. That was it.
In that situation, as in many others, whether it be personal or professional, it would be easy to argue for the mistake that we made, instead of just owning up to it. As I watched an episode of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” with Jerry Seinfeld last night, he said something that really stuck out to me:
The truth ends every conversation.
Sometimes when it seems the hardest thing to be honest with others, we obviously are not being honest with ourselves. People are much more forgiving of what they believe to be a mistake then they are to what they believe to be a lie. In life and leadership, this is a lesson that we always have to remember.
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