A reputation once broken may possibly be repaired, but the world will always keep their eyes on the spot where the crack was. Joseph Hall
Reputation is crucial. Especially for the leader. This hit me as I watching some of the recent interviews with Ted Haggard. Those interviews are worthy of many posts, (generally I was moved by the apparent sincerity and humility displayed) but for now, the concern is on reputation.
It is so much easier to keep it than it is to regain it. And if it is broken, while it MAY be repaired, people are always going to be more cautious, a little more cynical, a tad more suspicious about that reputation.
And in our age when the Internet is omni-present, brutal in its content and unforgiving with its memory . . . reputation, once tarnished will be almost impossible to shine. Google Ted Haggard Images and you'll see what I mean.
This is an area where we want to be HIGHLY PROACTIVE. Avoiding even the appearance of evil . . . practicing meaningful accountability . . . having pre-emptive honesty when we are in trouble instead of covering it up . . . learning the ways of self-awareness and integrity ahead of the time when they are to be tested.
It is not impossible for a fallen leader to be restored. It is not beyond the pale of redemption for a shattered mirror of one's reputation to be repaired. I think of Gordon MacDonald for an example of this.
A man, a leader, a Christian for whom I have the highest respect and admiration. But I'll also say, Gordon is probably the unusual exception and not the inevitable rule when it comes to a restored reputation.
Here are a few Questions for you:
What do the people closest to you think of you?
What is your current reputation?
What's your name like to them?
What are people saying about you when you are not around?
A good name is more desirable than great riches, to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1
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