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  • Writer's pictureTaChelle Lawson

Be Nice. Be Authentic. What About Respect?

Updated: 4 days ago

Can you tell if she's nice? Be authentic. Or be respectful? Which matters most in business?

I hear these a lot: “Be a good person,” “Be a good human,” and “Deliver it with love.” My personal favorite is “Be authentic.”

Each one is subjective. What defines a good person to me may not be the same as you. Who’s right?

Ask yourself: From a leadership perspective, is being a good person more important than being a good businessperson? Regarding business, leading with respect, integrity, and fairness trumps all of the above. 

“Deliver with love” is code for “be nice.” Being nice is “nice” in theory. But being a “nice” or “good” person is really between you and whatever higher power you answer to (or not). It’s also the opposite of authentic. Nice is a behavior individuals are taught and default to as opposed to being authentic. 

Let's be honest: No one really wants authenticity at work. I know this because most will need help digesting this blog, yet I’m being completely authentic.  

These are crucial differences to recognize and understand, especially concerning DEI. Managing or leading the opposite race or gender can come with the expectation of showing more “love” (i.e., being nicer) to employees from marginalized groups. If you fall for this, you could end up implementing woke tactics that alienate non-marginalized employees AND customers. 

Ignore the nonsense. You know that running your business doesn’t require “love” and “niceties.” It requires respect and fairness. Neither is subjective, and both set clear expectations of how you’ll treat others and how you expect them to treat you. Respect is the foundation of my anti-woke approach: Respect for the business, respect for employees, shareholders and customers, and respect for policies. You can be “nice” or lead with love, but there’s no substitution for respect. Stop allowing BS distractions, buying lies, or apologizing for putting the business first. 

I realize all of this is easier said than done. I’m a professional Black woman who unapologetically prioritizes business success over social expectations. Although it wasn’t always the case—today, I can say things my white counterparts can’t. Today, I can be the voice of reason without the same repercussions of being called racist. While there’s something profoundly wrong with that, it is today’s reality. And that, my friends, is woke.

Let's change this narrative together by taking an anti-woke approach and stop apologizing. Contact TaChelle to start your anti-woke journey to impactful DEI.

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