Many friends and colleagues have asked me the leadership lesson to be learned from the “imperfect game” thrown by Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga. It was clear from the video replay that veteran umpire Jim Joyce blew the call at first base causing Galarraga to miss a chance at baseball greatness by throwing a perfect game (MSF – that would be 27 consecutive outs).
The problem was I could not find the lesson. Joyce immediately stepped up and took full responsibility for the error and apologized. The media made mania out of the “theft” to no avail. Baseball’s commissioner confirmed the umpire’s field decision would not be reversed. It all seemed cut and dry until a colleague from Bangalore emailed me the ESPN phone interview with Armando Galarraga. Baseball immortality was stolen from this guy and he completely forgave the umpire and said he could have made the same error given the high level of intensity at the moment.
I can only hope to act the with the same dignity when my chance at greatest is taken from me. His maturity and ability to forgive should be a lesson for all leaders.
Have you ever made a significant error and you boss forgive you? How did you feel?