Steve Harvey’s Rules to Staff: Don’t Talk to Me

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

President Donald Trump shakes hands with television personality Steve Harvey after their meeting at Trump Tower in New York, January 13, 2017.REUTERS

Would you stop your boss in the hallway if you had a pressing question? TV host and comedian Steve Harvey made certain to let his staff know that would be a big mistake.

Harvey, who has received backlash from the Black community for his meeting with President Donald Trump, is now being placed in the hot seat for his abrupt letter to “The Steve Harvey Show” staff; and he’s not apologizing for it.

The letter sent to employees at the beginning of the current season was leaked this week to Chicago media writer Robert Feder and published in his blog on Wednesday. Harvey’s comments to his staff were shared with Feder during the syndicated talk show’s final week of production in Chicago.

After five seasons, the show is moving to Los Angeles and changing into a daytime series called “Steve.” Current staff members might be laid off in the transition, according to Variety.

Harvey’s memo to staff:

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

Perhaps Harvey should take time to consider the needs of his staff, which supports him so that he can have a life of “enjoyment.”

In a phone interview with Kevin Frazier of Entertainment Tonight, Harvey said he sent the email “asking everyone to simply honor and respect” his privacy.

He felt as if he was being “ambushed” by staff when walking from the stage to his dressing room, for example. Harvey said that he’s always had a policy where “you can come and talk to me,” but people were taking advantage of it, he said.

Harvey also noted that he would not apologize for the letter.

“I just didn’t want to be in this prison anymore where I had to be in this little room, scared to go out and take a breath of fresh air without somebody approaching me, so I wrote the letter,” he said.

“I don’t apologize about the letter, but it’s kind of crazy what people who took this thing and ran, man. I appreciate you asking me,” he told Frazier.

The letter is again creating public criticism toward Harvey. In January, he received backlash from the Black community after he met with Trump at Trump Tower to discuss affordable housing with now Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

“I walked away feeling like I had just talked with a man who genuinely wants to make a difference in this area,” Harvey tweeted on January 13 regarding his meeting with Trump. “I feel that something really great could come out of this … I would sit with him anytime.”

“The only way we can heal the divide in this country is through conversation,” Harvey said on his radio show in defense of the meeting.

In April, he said Trump is sticking to his promises to help America’s inner cities.

“As far as doing what he promised me he would do, he is doing it,” he told TMZ. “I’m working with HUD. I’m going to get some housing for underprivileged people. We’re going to set up some centers around the country. I’ve met with HUD. It’s going really well. God willing, it will work out.”

While touring a facility for the poor in Ohio this month, Carson said that HUD housing shouldn’t be too comfortable for residents.

He explained in an interview that compassion means not giving people “a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me.’”

What approach should Harvey have taken with staff members?

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  • David Andersen

    Not my approach, but not my show. To me it just sounds like he would like an opportunity to breathe a bit, and people have been disrespectful of that in the past. Sometimes you have to put your foot down so you don’t get trampled. No idea why this should be a news topic, but entertaining at least!

    • You are right on David. He obviously had to take a firm and terse stance. I’m glad he’s not apologizing. In my own life I’ve had to experience that too many people will steamroll you if you are just being courteous in kind.

      • Here’s my problem with his memo. The problem is that the memo was necessary. I am not nearly as successful as Steve, but I am reasonably successful – I have two people looking out for me in my office. My assistant make sure that it is almost impossible to get a random meeting without purpose, preparation and advance scheduling. My people protect me so I can get my job done. My reciprocal responsibility is taking very good care of my people with superior benefits and pay. If a family member has a problem, if I can help, I do. It’s a synergistic virtuous circle.

        As successful as Steve has been in his career, why doesn’t he have people looking out for him?

  • Titra Hamilton

    When I first heard about Steve Harvey’s new rules, they sounded really rude. If the above represents the full content of the memo, then after reading it, I get it. Team members often run up in your office, follow you down the hallway or into the cafeteria. I have even had folks follow me into the restroom. Where I work now, I see it all of the time. Many of our senior executives don’t even have time for a lunch break. However, the key is more than a memo. Steve needs to delegate, delegate, delegate, and empower his team to make decisions without him. Look at the way he and his teams work, and flatten the organization so that the buck doesn’t stop with him.

    • But I’m not sure why addressing people abusing your time- on the spot- isn’t a better approach. It’s not like he’s a shy guy.

  • While touring a facility for the poor in Ohio this month, Carson said that HUD housing shouldn’t be too comfortable for residents. He explained in an interview that compassion means not giving people “a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me.’”
    – – – – –
    A certain percentage of our society is not going to be able to work their way out of needing assistance. I’m talking about the disabled and the elderly, specifically. I would hope if I’m 85 and destitute, my society would provide a safe and comfortable place for me. After all, where else do they have to go?

    • Honestly, how arrogant of Carson to assume that poor people just want to do nothing but expect people to take care of them. He’s one of these that have been affluent for so long, he’s completely forgotten that not everyone has been blessed to lead the type of life he leads. Poor people want jobs and to support and educate themselves just like anybody else. And no, that’s not even what “compassion” means–he’s totally got that wrong. Also, he’s not even qualified to run HUD because he’s got virtually NO experience running anything in the government—he only got it because he sucked up to trumplethinskin (got that form another site,lol) He even said that he felt he wasn’t qualified to run HUD, so why the hell did he take the job? In fact, most of the people trumpf has picked to run things like the Dept of Education and the EPA aren’t qualified to run those depts. at all. Just like trumpf himself isn’t qualified to be president, yet too many people try so hard to pretend that he is, when it’s clearly that he isn’t.

      • Hmmm not qualified to run HUD kind of like Obama wasn’t qualified to run the country? Never had a real job or “ran anything”. Freshmen congressman, community organizer. Funny how you will toerate one but not the other?.

        • Wrong. President Obama had almost identical experience as President Lincoln (Illinois state legislator, federal representative), except Lincoln was never a Senator. And Obama won the popular vote twice with no help from the Russians.

        • You are incorrect and you know it. Your alternative facts will never be the truth.
          Obama was a State Representative for 8 years, a U.S. Senator for nearly 2 years. Yes, he was a Community Organizer; however, it is very obvious you have no idea what organizing an entire community entails. Here’s a hit: 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns second to none! Obama and Michelle could have continued to work at one of the most prestigious law firms in Chicago; they CHOSE not to.

  • While I disagree with Steve on Trump (things he say HUD is going to do are the things they’ve always done), I’m in total agreement with his stance on this issue. CEO’s are not stopped and approached by everyone. This is what happen when people apply concepts they don’t understand (open door policy) and don’t understand the unintended consequences. It’s a business, not a corner store. Black people (and yes I’m black) amaze me how quickly they allow the media to traumatize folks and create the narrative. So now we’re spending energy on this and not Trump. Beyonce making money off our pain … come on America has alway made money off our pain thr-out its history and you haven’t been compensated. We continue to fight a new war with the weapons of the 60ies. America don’t care if your black and poor. We march and along the way we stop at Chili’s for a snack.

    • Hi Granddaddy,

      Here’s a different perspective: I worked for Motorola Solutions for 23 years. I could approach our CEO, CAO, CMO, CFO, CHRO, CIO, and the list could go on – anytime I wanted to. If I saw any of them in the halls, I could talk to them – ANY ONE OF THEM!

      All of the Chiefs I mentioned earlier knew my name, and I could send them an email or get on their calendars whenever I wanted to.

      Steve is arrogant, rude and disrespectful and that’s the bottom line. Please don’t make excuses for this grown man not treating his employees with dignity and respect.

  • I understand the intent, but the delivery was very abrasive. As the saying goes, it’s not what you say but how you say it.

  • I think he handled things poorly AGAIN. He could have established office hours where he had an open door policy. A simple note like, “You can see me between x – x times, but I need some down time so I’m asking that you not approach me outside of those hours with work related business. I need time to de-stress.” His original approach was heavy handed and honestly, sounds very much like he was saying I’m too good for you.

    After seeing the notes from the follow up interview, I understood what he was trying to say, but Steve and I have parted ways a while ago. Between his racist jokes about Asian men, his meeting with Orange Julius and now this, I’m sticking with my opinion of him. I don’t see him as a good person.

    • Its his show and his staff. They have jobs due to his talent and show. He was abrupt but he clearly set the expectation. That’s what’s important. If people are offended or don’t want to work for him they can leave. That’s what the free market is all about.

  • Not the most diplomatic and tactful way of getting his point across,l in terms of developing, nurturing and maintaining relationships, which I think is a necessary for continued success and good performance. However, his desired outcome is not unreasonable. It also, makes me think of what is often expected of employees, for the good of the company, stay late, come in early, miss your child’s game, your anniversary with your spouse, holidays, weekends, etc, etc. I am expected to all that and now I have to schedule a appointment just to ask you a question when you are sitting right in front of me! I get it but really!

    • I get Harvey wanting some brief down time at work,but he should have at least pulled all his employees together for a meeting and discussed this with them, instead of just sending a memo out—it does make him come off like he’s got a “I’m above you” attitude. Having said that, I can’t believe he bought into donnie boy’s BS, when it’s clear that trumpf has never and still dosen’t give a d*** about black people. That also being said, I do like his talk show, his Family Feud show, and that other show he does with the talented kids. I’ve liked him since he had his own sitcom back in the ’90s, and he worked hard to get where he is, but I just hope that his success hasn’t completely gone to his head,that’s all.

  • Steve don’t forget where you came from. Just because you shook hand with the devil don’t forget where your help came from

  • I really don’t have any forethought about Steve Harvey’s letter. I believe the tone of the letter sounds arrogant but I don’t know the man personally. I have listened to the Steve Harvey morning show, and watched him numerous times on television; however, if I saw him in public I would never approach him because I don’t know him personally. Celebrities are people who make a living entertaining. They are not family nor are they there to live for you. They have problems just like we do. It’s okay that they give back to their communities, but remember it’s for tax purposes and publicity, nothing more; if not, why advertise it or allow the media to have access to such activities? We as people need to quit thinking the word celebrity stands for savior. Take away the glitz and glamour and you will find that if they don’t bathe, brush their teeth or comb their hair, they will smell and look a hot mess. They are no different than any other man or woman. They just have more money and more problems.

    Ms. A. Braxton-Columbus, GA.

  • I was a fan of his work but he is really “smelling” himself now. Great, a comedian and Dr. Whisper working on housing the underprivileged……just not too comfortably. He is out of his depth. My family, friends and colleagues haven’t watched or listened to any of his shows since he bowed and scraped for the Orangutan. He should have stuck with comedy. However, hIs self-proclaimed relationship expertise is laughable, though. He used to tell jokes, now he’s the joke.

    • So you basically call him Uncle Tom because he had the gall to have an opinion of his own that differs from your narrative. Bravo for diversity of thought……as long as it agrees with the group.

  • I feel he just should have stated why and not put it out as a list of demands that read from King to lowly-subjects.

  • I totally sympathize and understand Steve Harvey’s request for a more professional workplace. People idolize celebrities and are the biggest boot-lickers always trying to gain an advantage with their celebrity bosses. He is simply asking for professional courtesy from his staff and requesting respect for his new procedural protocols. Just because they are in the entertainment industry, there needs to be organizational standards; not willy-nilly!

    His staff has NO LOYALTY because a snake in his organization intentionally and maliciously LEAKED their boss’ confidential memo. He has a right not to be interrupted by disorganized, unprofessional staff members. People criticized Trump for abruptly entering the dressing rooms of young girls–the same respect for Steve’s privacy while dressing should be respected.

    I’ve worked with national and internationally-known “celebrities” and the level of ass-kissing by staff and others is nauseating. If you have never worked with or around a famous person or TV personality, you wouldn’t understand how people fawn and ambush their private moments. They can’t sit down and eat lunch without some FANATIC ambushing them trying to gain some kind of favor(s). Just because he’s a comedian, it doesn’t mean he takes everything lightly.

    Whoever the snake is that leaked the memo to the press–shame on him or her!

    • I have and I agree 100% Unfortunately, too many people are caught up in how the feel while not taking into account how he feels. Others are concerned with ‘how it was said’ rather than the message of what is being said. Unfortunately, it does appear the memo was written from an emotional position mostly likely after an encounter that was one straw too many on the camel’s back.

  • Much ado about nothing. He’s got office hours and staff meetings. Leave him be in the hall and dressing room when he’s getting ready for the show. I wouldn’t want my subordinates going over my head in the hall or waiting for the ceo in the parking garage.
    What does his internal policy have to do with his meeting with Trump? It makes the story seem slanted negative, instead of telling a story and letting us decided what we think. The Trump picture and section is clearly put in to drive emotions.
    You have as much respect for your readers as Trump does for public housing.

  • I agree with what he said, but he should have had someone else ‘construct’ the letter for him. Steve has no tact and is not intelligent enough to pull off something like this. He is funny – that’s it. He has all of these jobs because of his comedic talent. Anything beyond that should be handled by someone else, a spokesperson. People work at jobs with CEOs, but you can’t just walk up to them and start talking. You must make an appointment or run it by an admin assistant first. You can’t just approach them all times of the day. The talk show job fell into Steve’s lap, so it’s not something he’s used to. He’s learning too. This letter probably should have been written during season 1 had he known then, what he knows now. It’s written poorly, but we get the gist.

  • Steve Harvey could have handled this much better. Evidently he’s operating on burn out mode – having so many projects in the going on at the same time. However, this behavior seems to goes against his so-called “brand” (whatever that is). But no matter, it’s his journey. Hope he remembers all the “little” people on (and off) his staff that helped make him who he is today.

  • Steve: A personal meeting with the entire staff with one-message. Hiding behind the letter without them being able to ask questions or see his heartfelt intentions was not great. The letter at the very least should have been more compassionate and better worded.

    • Hello all, and especially Mr. Harvey. At the time of writing my opinion regarding Mr. Harvey’s letter, Mia’s 5/16/17 3:36pm comment was the last one. I read all of the previous comments/opinions made. I would like to say that this is the first time that I am responding to anything or anyone’s comment about anything in particular, and I have had a lot of opinions about a lot of stuff that I have read in newspapers, the internet, or listened to on television. That being said, I felt the need to make a comment in response to this letter reportedly written by Mr. Harvey. I feel that he is a great comedian and I admire what he has accomplished and have achieved, especially from where he started from. I initially had issues with Mr. Harvey in the manner in how he presented himself in ways that seemed to have demonstrated arrogance. I eventually overcame my personal feelings about Mr. Harvey as I felt that was my problem, that he didn’t owe me anything and he was being successful in his endeavors and currently he is a very successful individual and anyone should respect that in any individual. I can go on and on in this vain but I will cut it short and say, I really regret that Mr. Harvey publicly wrote the letter in the manner that he did. It just brought back the level of arrogance I have felt he has and seemingly don’t mind showing it or demonstrating it at any given time. My bottom line is that Mr. Harvey can do or say anything he want or wish to say. I just feel that he could have stated what he wanted to say in a much better tone that it was stated in the letter he wrote to his staff. To me, it seemed to have lacked a certain amount of respect to his staff. Don’t get me wrong, I believe everyone was right in what ever they wanted to say about how they felt about Mr. Harvey’s letter as was Mr. Harvey in writing it the way he felt he should. I just feel that he could have stated what he wanted with more passion or compassion and I am willing to bet that there would have been much more comments of statements agreeing that it was well written vs the amount of statements made that he is wrong in the manner it was written. My Harvey if you read this, I would hope that you understand where I am coming from. I would also hope that you not do anything in the future that could bring about your downfall, and especially not because of what or how you say something to any particular individual or others in general. I have always believed what my grandmother, God bless her soul, taught me years ago, “manners will take you where money won’t.” Just think why there are so many people who are totally against Mr. Trump!!! He is someone I feel demonstrates a lot of arrogance in what he does, and possibly why they decided to have you pictured shaking hands with him at the top of the article. I, lastly hope Mr. Trump keeps his word with you as reportedly you said he is. He sure didn’t do so or appears that he is not going to do so for all of those heads of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities that he met with, I’m just saying!!!.

  • Faatui Panama

    Dishonest. He originally made himself out to be someone he wasn’t obviously. He’s not even funny. He’s just a two bit circus monkey. He calls himself a Christian, but seriously… would Christ write such a letter?

  • Eleanor Davis

    He should have had those rules from the beginning. Now he looks like a jerk. People who work for him just got there feelings hurt. I think it wasn’t his smartest move. He could have handled different. He is still one of my favorite guys on tv

  • I don’t see the problem here. Is he not the boss? Is he supposed to kiss his staffs ass because they WORK for him? These people earn a living on what this good man has created and should show him a little respect.

  • Barry rankin

    I agree with him as I agreed with Hillary Rodham Clinton…theyre too busy to be constantly around people that need something

  • This is much ado about nothing, and Steve shouldn’t have to apologize. The message isn’t rude, it’s straightforward, specific, and makes clear why he needs to put rules in place. Just because he’s a celebrity doesn’t mean he has no right to boundaries and self care.

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