The most powerful action in reputation recovery and rehabilitation is to apologize. If you want or need forgiveness, you’ll need to apologize. “Wait a minute,” you say, “The lawyers won’t ever let me apologize.” Well, let’s talk about apology, understand it, and then we’ll get back to the attorneys.
Management avoids apologizing by using an amazing array of avoidance strategies. There’s self-forgiveness: “It’s an industry problem, we’re not the only ones,” “Let’s not blow this out of proportion.” There’s self-talk: “It’s only an isolated incident,” “It’s never happened before,” “Not very many were involved,” and “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”
In this free white paper, James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, Fellow IABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, BEPS Emeritus advises “The lesson for leaders is that while it’s true apologies can have legal consequences, the act of apologizing is uniquely a leadership decision. Most important leadership decisions and actions have legal consequences, but the evidence increasingly shows that apologies beneficial impacts far outweigh the legal risks. Apology is one of the most powerful acts of leaders and leadership.”
Jim Lukaszewski is author of Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication: What Your CEO Needs to Know About Reputation Risk and Crisis Management.