Today we have no shortage of examples of politicians, corporate leaders, sports people and various other high profile individuals making terrible mistakes and getting caught out. There are two very different approaches to the same scenario, and we can certainly learn from both.
Scenario one is the "ignore, deny and hope it all goes away" approach. This seems to be the most common initial approach until common sense appears on the scene. We have little sympathy for people who deny their bad behavior for as long as they can hold out and then finally admitting what they have done when they simply can't hide any more.
The second scenario is of course the smarter, more mature approach, lets call this the "stop, step up, own it, apologize and mean it" approach. These people put their hand up, own up to their behavior and accept the consequences of their action. They step up as leaders should, they own their actions instead of finding anything or anyone else to blame them on, they apologize quickly and they apologize with true meaning and sincerity.
In Australia at present we are being faced with a Royal Commission into all of the major banks. They have been found to be acting totally unethically and in some instances criminally, yet not a single bank has stepped up and apologized in any environment, except in the confines of the Royal Commission.
This is an example of Scenario one, "ignore, deny and hope it all goes away" approach. And they have lost all trust with the Australian public and rightly so. They are going down swinging, finally being forced to admire their guilt but still not being prepared to apologize for their actions.
As business owners we can learn a great deal from this kind of behavior. Our customers have to trust us to buy from us. We are all going to make mistakes, we are all going to get things wrong, but the real key is how we handle it when we do.
Every time we see someone in a position of authority not owning up to their misdeeds or their organizations questionable behavior, listen to the discussions, see how your feelings change towards this business or individual. Think how you would act if you were in the same situation? Would you act with the integrity that the situation requires? That your customers expect of you?
More and more we are moving into a space where our integrity is going to be question. We need to make sure we pass the test every step of the way. Gone are the days where there are no consequences for poor behavior. Thank goodness!