(Updated in 2020)
10-Point Plan: Show Influential Leadership in Times of Trouble
Influence Is a Clear Signal Above the Negative Noise
I submit that every person or business with any shred of visibility has had this experience.
You make an offer or offer an opinion that’s meant to establish trust or build a bridge of good intentions. Someone takes it out of context and soon you’re branded as something that is the opposite of who you are, what you stand for, and what you do.
Really what could have prompted us to do something as thoughtless as to put the wheelchair sign next to the stone stairway and think that meant accessibility?
People start repeating the wrong thing — not what you said or what you did, but some interpretation that sounds more interesting and negative. The tribe is speaking and they’re speaking negative about you. What do you do? Remember that you still have influence.
- Realize that you’re still you. Capture your values in three words that are smart, heartfelt, and about other people.
- Immediately move to remedy damage with leadership. Leadership is not a false apology. Leadership can be saying “thank you,” to a detractor. Leadership is what restores balance that moved.
- Stand on your reputation and start talking too. Tell your story and your history in terms of those values with clarity and conviction.
- Focus on the truth and compassion for those who misstate or misunderstand it.
- Keep repeating your commitment to values and leadership.
What person or business has escaped the experience of being misunderstood? The person would have to be a hermit and the business, well, it couldn’t be doing much business.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember that it’s not about pleasing folks who don’t like us, but about truly thrilling and serving the folks who love every bit of us. They are the ones who bet on us when the going gets rough.
Before the Internet we called the people who watched out for us our support system, now we call them our personal or professional network. Whatever we call that group that surrounds us with the benefit of understanding, the reciprocity of keeping them nourished with our attention and fed with our gratitude can be as simple as remembering them.
The best thing we can do for our brand and our businesses is to protect and care for the people who protect and care for us … even when we’re not seeing them do it.
The most critical signal is the respect and gratitude we constantly and consistently celebrate for the people who share our values. It resonate still whenever any negative noise sounds.
What do you consider most critical when a negative noise is sounding around you?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
READ the Whole 10-Point Plan Series: On the Successful Series Page.