In my pursuit of growth, I recently braved "Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs" by Josh Hawley.
This book was a tough read, full of bias, combative rhetoric, and lacked balance.
Hawley's narrative revealed a troubling conflict between his preached virtues and practices, relying on religious texts to frame his flawed vision of manhood.
Let it be clear: there is nothing wrong in following the Bible or any religion, but it should be for self-enlightenment, not as a tool to belittle other viewpoints or promote one's own.
This book could have been a tool for collaborative discourse but was instead reduced to a monologue of divisive, unbalanced ideals, leaving a sour aftertaste of its deficiencies.
Is this, I ask, what he calls being a man?
From these insights, I distilled key lessons for Alpha Leaders.
Open-mindedness and Valuing Diversity: Hawley's one-sided viewpoint underlines the importance of being open to diverse perspectives. As leaders, we must value the differences in our teams and harness them as strengths. Pointing fingers at others to raise your status shows your weaknesses and insecurities, not your strengths.
Bridging Divisions, not Deepening Them: The book's divisive tone highlighted the need for leaders to promote unity. We should strive to use differences constructively, fostering collaboration rather than discord.
Embody Your Principles: The contrast between Hawley's preachings about courage and his actions serves as a reminder that our actions should align with our words. Authenticity is critical for maintaining credibility and trust. Nothing speaks more than actions or lack of.
Avoid Generalizations: Hawley's broad assumptions about liberals underscore the dangers of making sweeping statements about people. Treating each team member as an individual rather than a stereotype can cultivate mutual respect and trust. Are you a stereotypical Alpha Leader, or do you want to be seen as special?
Value Empathy and Understanding: Hawley's lack of empathy was notable. As leaders, we should strive to understand and empathize with our team members' experiences, promoting a supportive and positive team culture, not pointing at flaws but the possibilities ahead.
Approach Problems Holistically: Hawley's narrow focus on biblical virtues reminds us to approach issues comprehensively. By considering a variety of perspectives and solutions, we can make more informed decisions.
Given these observations, there are some tangible solutions Hawley could have used to make his book more valuable.
True Respect for Different Perspectives: An essential aspect of genuine Alpha Leadership is respecting differing viewpoints. Instead of diminishing others' ideas as Hawley does, Alpha Leaders should see the inherent value in diversity of thought. Real strength lies in understanding that robust discussions and respect for all perspectives foster innovation and growth.
Consistency Between Preaching and Practice: The essence of Alpha Leadership is authenticity. Where Hawley's preaching about courage was misaligned with his actions, true Alpha Leaders must embody the virtues they advocate. Authenticity and consistency in one's actions breed trust and respect within the team, making this an integral facet of true manhood and leadership.
Balanced Use of Belief Systems: A true Alpha Leader understands the value of various belief systems without becoming overly reliant on one, as Hawley does with religious texts. While such texts can provide guidance, using them to marginalize other perspectives doesn't reflect true leadership. Alpha Leaders recognize that inclusivity and respect for diverse ideas contribute to a more enriching and cooperative environment.
True manhood, as epitomized in Alpha Leadership, goes beyond the flawed approach showcased in Hawley's book.
It embraces the strengths in others, strives for consistency in words and actions, and champions diversity of thought without bias.
That's the kind of “manhood” leadership we need to cultivate
You can read my entire book review here
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