Courage and Humility Improve the Odds of Reputation Restoration

(Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay)

It seems to be common sense that the character and courage to be humble would solve numerous problems in life, professionally and personally. Why more people don’t default to that mindset and practice and benefit their challenges and reputation is puzzling and disappointing.

Yet observe the news and the disputes, ongoing conflicts, scandals and crises that get reported and it is extremely rare that you see a high-character response out of a show of responsibility, intrinsic motivation and a commitment to do the right thing.

That’s what prevents individuals and organizations from effectively responding to trouble, resolving problems and inspiring protection and restoration of reputation or rebuilding it.

Courage is hard, especially for some people. Humility can be equally difficult. Both require strength of character and often bravery. Not everyone has that quality level of character or the stomach for stepping forward in a brave manner. Accomplished people have fallen short often when faced with the test of their best selves.

Why is humility and courage so challenging? There might be multiple reasons yet ego and fear are the most common ones. The story we tell ourselves about who we are and aren’t, what we didn’t do, didn’t mean, shouldn’t have to do are extreme. Then there is the vulnerable feeling that comes with fear and risk.

These are difficult hurdles or obstacles to overcome. Not impossible yet a struggle. Logic rarely proves helpful when people are in situations that are highly emotional for them and go against how they see themselves, how they like to present themselves to others and the line they draw in the sand for what they will and won’t do to solve problems.

There is minimal allure for the benefits, protective and advantageous, they could gain personally and professionally with the personal development and practice of humility and courage. People make unwise decisions regularly based on false evaluations of cost-benefit, risk analysis.

However, we can learn much by not just casually observing the news of disputes, conflicts, scandal and crisis but dissecting them and noticing which individuals and organizations reveal quality character and move forward with humility, courage and more humility and when this is sustained to navigate through a problematic wilderness. Then notice which people and organizations do not show this caliber of foresight and decision-making despite having the mental capacity.

What the latter don’t understand is they are conveying a story about themselves to all who are observing and it’s not a favorable one; it’s costly.

Yet that commitment to their position and belief that their mistakes or egregious errors and underwhelming, disappointing or poor reaction or response will be soon forgotten is folly. Choosing self deception is dangerous. It might feel safe and a relief yet that will prove temporary in the vast majority of cases, especially the more severe the danger to reputation.

The recommendation therefore is to look for difficult situations and human interactions to further practice and develop humility, courage and more humility to communicate when you’ve made a mistake or made a decision that led to significant error.

Pursue this now while the costs are not as taxing and painful so you can prepare for when a larger demand of courage and humility are needed.

Do this regularly. It will become a valuable habit that builds a skill, respect and will have you prepared, ready and confident when a more serious dispute, conflict, scandal or crisis might present itself.

You will thank yourself and people will notice the high quality of your character and your reputation will prove resilient and shine favorably.

Michael Toebe helps individuals and organizations accurately analyze and wisely, more successfully respond to conflict and crisis that threatens or harms reputation. He writes and publishes Red Diamonds Essays and has written advisory for Chief Executive, Corporate Board Member, New York Law Journal, Corporate Compliance Insights and Physicians Practice and publishes as well on LinkedIn and beBee.

Michael Toebe is a specialist for reputation, scandal and crisis, writing about organizations and individuals.