How to Prevent Reputational Damage from Leadership

Published on 2nd October 2018

man in suit with arms crossed

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The personal reputation of an organization’s leader is just as important as the corporate reputation itself. Without solid risk management, the repercussions of reputational damage from leadership can be costly.

For instance, consider the CEOs of United Airlines and Barclays. Oscar Munoz’ handling of the forcible removal of the United Airlines customer and Jes Staley’s attempts to hunt down a whistleblower hit both businesses. If you are measuring reputational risk, shares in United Airlines fell as much as 4% following the incident, and Staley’s actions cost him a bonus of more than one million dollars.

JBP PR & Parliamentary Affairs argues that both of these situations could have been avoided with better reputational risk management. In their latest blog post, they offer several ways business leaders can prevent reputational damage from poor leadership behavior.

Four Ways to Prevent Reputational Damage from Leadership

  1. Appoint a designated communication leader who is capable of standing up to leadership, notifying them of reputational risks before they happen.
  2. Ensure communications functions are represented on boards so they are involved in decision making at the highest level. This will ensure that reputation crisis are prevented early on or addressed decisively when they occur.
  3. Issue genuine, heartfelt apologies from the top of the organization in a timely manner. Companies need to demonstrate to the public that they care — and not just because their lawyers tell them to.
  4. Keep leaders accountable to the mission they have set for the business or run the risk of losing trust. Learn from Staley’s mistakes — he pledged to change the bank’s culture after its involvement in rigging the Libor interest rate but the whistleblowing events state otherwise.

That’s not all organizations can do to create a reputational risk management framework and ensure their company doesn’t develop a poor leadership reputation. Gain other tips for preventing reputational damage from leadership on the JBP PR & Parliamentary Affairs’ blog.


JBP PR & Parliamentary Affairs is one of the leading strategic communications consultancies in the United Kingdom dedicated to providing a highly informed, targeted and outcome-driven communications strategy for all its clients. Their approach is a three-step process: discover, define, deliver. This model allows the consultancy to provide ‘business-class’ service to support its client’s goals.

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