Is it just me or are you feeling tired of takedown culture as well?
For clarity, I’m not speaking about accountability. I’m speaking about our particular brand of pitchforks and torches when someone screws up…or as mentor Tanya Geisler refers to it, “canonization/demonization”. We place online entrepreneurs up on pedestals where they can do no wrong (canonization) until they make a mistake, at which point we collectively attack and take them down (demonization).
The very public nature of this makes many clients I work with feel hesitant about being visible in their businesses. This canonization/demonization process changes the fear of whether they might fail into something else entirely: a fear of succeeding and making a mistake.
For years, I’ve spoken about the powerful process of writing your manifesto to build a solid brand voice, values statement, and content strategy. One of the primary questions I ask is “what needs to change?” This prompt allows us to consider what we’re against and think critically about why we’re against it.
BUT THAT’S NOT ENOUGH
Even though knowing what you’re against can help you clarify your stance in business, it’s only a small part of being an integrity-based leader. True leadership is also providing solutions to fill the gaps and/or shift the paradigm.
You can know that you’re against particular sales tactics.
But from there I would ask you why? What is it about those tactics that make you squirm?
Once you know this, it opens the doors to possible solutions. What would you do instead? What would you tell your prospective clients?
Shouting NO without sharing possibility, hope, and solutions will empty your entire tank. Believe me, I know this one. I spent decades as a frontline activist before burning out very hard. NO is really fucking tiring.
You know what that difficult lesson taught me?
Pointing fingers can be helpful ONLY IF it’s followed up by solutions, modeling through action, mentoring, and reparations.
This is what I call good leadership:
1. Know what you’re against (and why)
2. Speak up about what you are for (tell us about your solutions)
3. Take action on those things (because modeling integrity is super sexy)
4. Show others how to do the same (this is how you create impact)
5. Own and repair when you inevitably fuck up (this includes listening when others tell you your actions/words have caused harm)
You don’t need to have the most original solutions; the way you show up in the world is original. This particular work is about becoming a leader you respect.
Don’t let takedown culture stop you from being visible. You’re human. You will fuck up. You will make mistakes. Remember the solutions you provide and how you will manage your mistakes.
That’s leadership I want to follow.