The Dangerous Aspects of Thought Leadership

Here’s a policy that I’ve established for myself that’s worked pretty well, and I think you might benefit from it as well:

I never read the comments.

Whether it’s a YouTube video or a news article — especially a news article — I never read the comments.

Yeah, I break the rule every now and then, but it’s rare.

If you’ve ever read comments on a piece of content like that, I think the reason for this policy is pretty obvious.

That’s where the poison is!

One reason for that is that it’s anonymous. We’ve all seen someone hiding behind a screen name saying things online that they would never have the guts to say to someone face-to-face.

There is a lot of anonymity available on the Internet, but if you’re online as a Thought Leader and you’re selling something to someone, it’s probably the least anonymous place there is.

Ten or twenty years ago, there were only a handful of sites people could go to complain about a business online, and really no harm was done.

Nowadays, you make one false move and people will blow you up, and it doesn’t cost them anything to tear you down.

And just like in rumor mills or between gossips, bad news spreads faster than anything. And there’s no “truth detector” on these sites to let people know that this guy is lying about you.

So let’s talk about what you can do to vaccinate yourself from this poison.

One thing is to systematically build up as much goodwill as you can between yourself and your followers. Additionally, in the context of a transaction, you want clear and easy ways for your customers to provide feedback and get support. 

The thinking is that if they can easily get their problem addressed, they won’t make the effort to feel like they need another outlet for their frustration.

You’re not going to believe my example for this, but it’s actually “The Godfather.” Not the movie, which was great, but the book by Mario Puzo. In the book, Vito Corleone became the godfather by doing favors for people and establishing such goodwill that people happily did whatever he wanted them to do because he had done so much for them. 

He based his power on goodwill, not fear.

Now do me a favor and let me extend a little goodwill toward you. Sign up for my free daily thought leadership tips, tactics, and strategies at You Can Be A Thought Leader. I hope you’ll find it an offer you can’t refuse.