You can sit there and take it—or fight back with street smarts. The key is to deflect heat directed at you by introducing a third party. Convenient outlets include a regulatory agency, a rival organization or a recently departed colleague who played an influential role. Always accept responsibility for your mistakes. Share in the attacker’s irritation, but be careful not to shift the blame. Instead, if it’s appropriate, funnel the fury in another direction. Example: If your CEO lambastes you for losing a big account, say, “I hate to lose that account too, but the bad press would have killed us had we retained them. It’s better to cut our losses now than to fight off months of negative publicity.”
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