Around the world, there has been a recent backlash against corporate executives

Around the world, there has been a recent backlash against corporate executives. Citing massive bonuses and minimal oversight – critics have attacked business leaders and have brought the reputation of being a senior manager crashing down. It’s such a shame that the mistakes of the few have tarnished the efforts of many to build successful businesses that create jobs and improve the prosperity of their local area. There are ways, however, that you can walk against this tide of public hatred and become an admired business veteran – whatever the bottom line.

The first area to focus on is image. The vast majority of grass roots critics of executives don’t actually know one. Unsurprising, as top jobs are rare, but a power fact all the same. What this means is that no matter how you act with your immediate colleagues and friends, you aren’t making an impression on the thousands of people your community who have heard of your company or maybe you personally as a leader. Image is therefore everything, as public image is the only outreach (so far) you have in communicating with those dissenters around you.

You will need to tone down your lifestyle and flamboyance, and rethink how you present yourself to the rest of the world. Do you drive an expensive German saloon, wear a designer suit, or mount a luxury watch upon your wrist for a mere ‘pop down to the shops?’ if so then you will be arousing a quiet resentment in many people you pass. Is the feeling of superiority and success really worth that? These are your neighbours, and deserve some respect, so treat them as you would your closest friend. In other words, when economic times are hard – don’t highlight the fact that you’re still earning a good salary. You don’t need to ‘hide’ it either – just simply act like a normal, humble human being, and the admiration for your leadership position will slowly come creeping back!

The second thing you need to focus on is the local newspaper. These are very brilliant at passing on the message that you’re trying to help the community and have a great deal of passion for the business you work for, and more importantly – it’s employees. Hold a charity event where proceeds will go to an employment initiative, or give out a press release if you hire a batch of staff. Newspapers may publish a lot of bad news in a recession, but they’re also on the lookout for the ‘diamond in the rough’ stories that will bright light to these dark and troubled times.

And finally, a real boost to your popularity as a leader will come from your salary. Fred Goodwin’s pension scandal has become part of the core reason why the public is angry with senior managers – compensation in the largest of the country’s companies has swelled in recent years, and has continued to grow despite the terrible financial results. You have to become a martyr for your board and publically take a pay cut to restore confidence in leadership once more.

Keep these two things in mind and you’ll see people warm to the leadership of your company once more.

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