Instead of referring to the incident as “an error in judgement” or a “momentary lapse,” Lewinsky owns her mistakes and doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to identifying them.
Business leaders who are looking to recover from a major misstep should consider the same – it’s a brave move and, like Lewinsky, you’ll get more respect as a result.
Stop sweeping things under the rug
Just months before former Monster.com CEO Sal Iannuzzi was forced out, he publicly dismissed poor earnings and abysmal ratings, claiming instead; “The company is stronger today than it had been at any point in the last seven or eight years.”
Refusing to acknowledge the real situation at hand only harms a leader’s integrity – the only way to manage a crisis is to meet it head on and face the reality.
“Overnight I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one worldwide,” Lewinsky admits. “I was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo; and of course that woman
Widen the perspective
Despite the candid discourse, Lewinsky uses her own personal crisis to give context to a wider issue – cyber bullying.
Like this, leaders who have made a big mistake mustn’t make it about themselves – instead, strong leaders will actively pursue channels to prevent such a mistake ever happening again.
“I hope my past experience can lead to a change that results in less suffering for others,” she says.