Lessons from Steve Harvey

Last week an email from Steve Harvey to his staff was leaked.  First thing I did?  I laughed at the absurdity – this rant was very Glengarry-esque and was wither the sign that Mr. Harvey is a jerk, or that he is just burnt out.

In case you missed it, here is the email:


“Good morning, everyone. Welcome back.

I’d like you all to review and adhere to the following notes and rules for Season 5 of my talk show.

There will be no meetings in my dressing room. No stopping by or popping in. NO ONE.

Do not come to my dressing room unless invited.

Do not open my dressing room door. IF YOU OPEN MY DOOR, EXPECT TO BE REMOVED.

My security team will stop everyone from standing at my door who have the intent to see or speak to me.

I want all the ambushing to stop now. That includes TV staff.

You must schedule an appointment.

I have been taken advantage of by my lenient policy in the past. This ends now. NO MORE.

Do not approach me while I’m in the makeup chair unless I ask to speak with you directly. Either knock or use the doorbell.

I am seeking more free time for me throughout the day.

Do not wait in any hallway to speak to me. I hate being ambushed. Please make an appointment.

I promise you I will not entertain you in the hallway, and do not attempt to walk with me.

If you’re reading this, yes, I mean you.

Everyone, do not take offense to the new way of doing business. It is for the good of my personal life and enjoyment.

Thank you all,

Steve Harvey”


We know as HR professionals that this is straight out of a “what not to do” chapter in any management 101 book.  Hostility doesn’t help a workplace environment and it most certainly will not get the most out of a staff.

Instead of continuing the debate on whether or not Mr. Harvey is a jerk, let’s examine what we can fix –workplace burnout.

Often burnout comes from a certain martyrdom that a lot of overachievers have.  They won’t delegate because they can’t trust and then this lack of trust leads to resentment, burnout… and nasty emails.

You know the workplace martyr – the person who tells you how many hours they work, when they work over the weekend, or rolls their eyes at the “lazy” team members.  To the workplace martyr, hours, not results are the measure of a worker. The busier they say they are, the more relevant they feel they are.

Workplace martyrs are hard to spot as they are quite similar and oftentimes also high achievers who give themselves completely to their job.  One way to differentiate between a high achiever and a martyr? Results.

Are you yourself a work martyr? Do you send emails at 2 am to show everyone how hard you are working?  Do you feel like your staff is taking advantage of you and no one cares as much as you do? If so… take a step back. Bosses who are also workplace martyrs need a trusted confidant – someone to hold them accountable.  A great “second-in-command.” Focus on the aspects of your job that are the most fulfilling. Find a great second-in-command who you can trust to help offload work, delegate, and hold you personally accountable for your martyrdom. If you want the most out of your staff, relate to them as a boss… not a workplace martyr or burnout.


manager, martyr, Steve Harvey, work life, workplace, workplace burnout, workplace martyr

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