Apologies are too rare.
I try to imagine the impact of a politician standing up and saying:
· “We weren’t prepared, but we’re trying to make up ground…”
· “We underestimated how severe this could be, but we’re working hard to turn things around…”
· “We tried this, but it didn’t work. We are trying this now….”
· “I wish I had all the solutions. We are learning as we go through this.”
I would prefer that approach and would want to join in and help solve the issues. I would be ready to help support the on-going efforts to correct the problem. I know you feel that way as well because I experience it all the time in our enterprise.
Politicians seem to fear that not appearing to have all the answers, or accepting responsibility for not having all the bases covered, will be viewed as a shortcoming and will cost an election and/or leverage in the public. That fear inhibits humility, candor and transparency.
I think that’s wrong. As Taylor Swift sings, “Haters gonna hate.”
When leaders blame, complain and are defensive, the critics will speak up. When leaders are candid, transparent and humble, the critics will point that out as well.
So, if you get criticized either way, tell the truth, give the facts, share your thoughts and admit you don’t have all the answers. I trust that approach. I think others would as well.