Everyone seems to understand the importance of trust. No one seems to doubt the vital role that it plays in personal relationships, business and politics. We want to trust the people in our lives and we want them to trust us.
Trust is so hard to earn and so easy to lose. So why do so many trust seekers resort to short-sighted, seemingly instinctive, self-aggrandizing or self-protective strategies that are bound to damage or destroy this precious asset?
Perhaps no group is more at risk than politicians who explicitly ask us to trust them. History has proven over and over again how futile and self-defeating it is for a person in the media’s cross hairs to try to protect an uncomfortable truth with a bodyguard of lies and obfuscations.
Remember Herman Cain? This intelligent, dynamic man’s unexpected popularity as candidate for the Republican presidential nomination was based largely on the image he projected as a straight-talker.
But instead of confronting directly and honestly the facts surrounding allegations of improper conduct, he discredited himself with unsustainable denials and unconvincing verbal hair splitting.
Allegations alone can be damaging, but insincere, implausible and unbelievable claims and explanations only make things worse — much worse. When will politicians (and the rest of us) learn this simple maxim? When you are in a hole, stop digging.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.