As more explosive news reports roll out about actor Jussie Smollett’s alleged fabrication of his racial and homophobic attack in Chicago, people are left with questions such as, “Where is the truth?” “What is the truth?” “Why did he possibly do this?” Questions that are now in the hands of the Chicago court system.
I’ve been asked lately how I would go about rehabbing Jussie’s reputation as this epic story of trust and reputation unfolds. My answer is simple, “Nothing. This is not the time to be focusing on rehabbing his reputation.”
Jussie is in the crucible right now. This is the period of time when his actions and words are vital. How he acts, what he says, how he reacts during the court hearings will determine how he emerges and how rehabbing his reputation could be managed.
As many are quick to judge and the court of public opinion sways, we should focus on one of the key issues here – trust.
If what the police allege is true, that Smollett orchestrated this attack to increase his public awareness in an effort to negotiate a raise, then this will become an epic story of betrayal of trust!
“There are three things you can’t hide from – the sun, the moon, and the truth.” – Confucius
We are living in an age where only 30% of Americans believe that people are trustworthy.
So, while the lawyers in Chicago build their cases, let’s look closer to home and reflect on how we are building or busting trust in our daily interactions! We are all responsible for trust in every interaction we have.
Here are three actionable ways that we, as leaders or individuals, can build and strengthen trust today.
1. Pursue Understanding, Not Responding – How often do we listen to others and focus on what we are going to say instead of truly listening to understand their perspective and how you got to the current state? Asking more questions will allow you to better understand the situation and collaborate on action-oriented solutions.
2. Own Your Mistakes – As leaders we set the tone and expectations for our teams. It’s too easy for us to say that we are “running fast” and “have a full plate” and therefore rationalize our mistakes to others. What example does that set for those you are leading? Remember, what they see is what they expect and, ultimately, what you get.
3. Keep Your Commitments – Following through on your commitments is critical. Commitments are promises and whether you keep them or break them, they become an underpinning component of trust. If you find that you can’t keep your commitments, then you need stop saying, “yes” so much! Perhaps you need to delegate more? Perhaps you need to better manage your time? Keeping your commitments will always build trust!
Yes, we are human and make mistakes. So, these are also great strategies for rebuilding trust! Only you can change your situation!
I’ll keep sharing reputation management insights and strategies as the Jussie Smollett case unfolds. In the meantime, put these three strategies into play and see how your trust and reputation begin or continue to deliver value and influence!
Cheers to driving forward!