Empirical research remains embryonic on increasing our understanding of the drivers and implications of responsible leadership. This is especially the case in terms of how responsible leaders behave during unpopular decision-making situations that impact organizational reputation. The aim of this study is to explore how senior leaders make unpopular decisions and manage the associated negative reputational outcomes responsibly. We conducted 25 interviews with leaders from the business and higher education industries of United States and Australia. The findings reveal that leaders make choices that range from responsibly tolerant to responsibly courageous options. They also adopt several reputation management strategies through effective communication and collaboration.