We’ve all dissected last week’s Super Bowl action, not to mention the humorous commercials that aired during the game. But have you heard about the controversy surrounding what happened after the game? Apparently Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is catching flak for not approaching victorious Saints quarterback Drew Brees for the customary post-game handshake.
Though Manning reportedly called Brees later to offer his congratulations, and the playing field was no doubt extremely crowded, many fans see Manning’s gesture as a sign of being a bad loser.
Whether it was disrespect or just a harmless misunderstanding on Manning’s part, from the standpoint of an etiquette expert, this situation just underlines the importance of showing respect and losing with dignity.
We fight countless battles in the business world—from trying to land that new account to fighting for a promotion. Some times things go our way, and some times they don’t. But whatever the outcome, how we react speaks volumes about our character and professional image.
Say you lost out on a promotion to a co-worker you personally don’t care for. You could invoke the silent treatment or complain endlessly behind the person’s back, but that will only make you appear bitter and petty—which isn’t exactly great for your career prospects. Far better to suck it up, accept the loss as a challenge to land the next promotion, and congratulate—as genuinely as possible—your co-worker on their achievement. You do have to work with this person, after all.
By the same token, it’s important to be gracious and respectful if you do happen to be the one in the winners circle. If you won a promotion over a co-worker, it’s tacky to gloat and lord your new job over everyone. Keep the public celebrations to a minimum and shake the person’s hand while congratulating them on a good “fight.”
This way you’ll achieve a reputation for having a strong character, good values and a healthy respect for the team as a whole, not simply yourself. Losing may not be fun, but losing badly only compounds the loss.