3 Critical Reputation Crisis Steps For Every Leader:
With today’s Social Media connectivity and people’s ability to voice their opinions or vent their angst, reputation attacks are no longer a question of ‘if’ rather it’s become a question of ‘when’. Of course, these attacks on our greatest personal asset are no longer limited to brands, celebrities, politicians and high-profile executives – we are all vulnerable.
But fear not, as reputation issues don’t have to be issues if you know how to approach the situation. While there are multi-step, ultra-disciplined plans for handling reputation attacks, it’s vital to boil down the first few initial steps. I’ve outlined three critical ones below.
These do take some serious introspective work. Your goals are to gain perspective, get over the hurt and anger and then identify the source of the attack to gauge the validity of the charges.
Here are the 3 critical reputation crisis steps for every leader:
- Have you honestly identified the root cause of the issue? – Typically a reputation issue comes up due to a decision that led to an action or behavior. This takes getting very honest with yourself because if you are in denial about your decisions and actions, you’ll never truly address the issue or whatever this issue is. If left alone and unaddressed, you will repeatedly behave in the same manner and your reputation issues will end up being like one of those whack-a-mole games we see at carnivals – instead of the mole popping up again and again in different places, the behavior that first initiated your issue will just keep popping up again and again – I’m sure you can think of people you know like that!
- How quickly do you move past your emotions to get to a plan – emotions are natural – it’s human nature to be upset when your reputation comes under attack – why me? How’d this happen? That person is out to get me! Those are all fair thoughts, but if we stew on those, we lose precious time. I’ve learned over my 20+ years in communications and crisis management that time is the one resource you will never get back and you never seem to have enough of – move past the emotion and get working on your plan.
- Is what is being said about you true and is the source credible? Identifying the source will enable you to validate the credibility of the accusations. There are times when you need to stand up and times when you need to remain focused on ‘staying the course.’ As a leader, you must be mindful of how much energy is spent on refuting the accusations versus continuing to let your consistent actions speak for yourself.
Leaders and entrepreneurs need to keep these reputation crisis steps close at hand in order to quickly and effectively stave off an attack. There is a saying in racing that sometimes you have to slow down to go fast. While time is of the essence, how you deploy your time in crisis situations will dictate your recovery speed and success. Yes, speed is an essential component for winning in racing as well as proactively managing your reputation!