Christopher WalkenYou watch those nature documentaries on the cable? You see the one about lions? Look at this lion. He’s the king of the jungle, huge mane out to here. He’s laying down under a tree, in the middle of Africa. He’s so big, he’s so hot. He doesn’t want to move.

“Now the little lion cubs, they start messing with him. Biting his tail, biting his ears. He doesn’t do anything. The lioness, she starts messing with him. Coming over, making trouble. Still: nothing. Now the other animals, they notice this. And they start to move in. The jackals; hyenas.

“They’re barking at him, laughing at him. They nip his toes, and eat the food that’s in his domain. They do this, and they get closer and closer, and bolder and bolder. ‘Til one day, that lion gets up and tears the s*** out of everybody. Runs like the wind, eats everything in his path. ‘Cause every once in a while, the lion has to show the jackals who he is.”

– Uncle Mike, portrayed by Christopher Walken in the film Poolhall Junkies

I love this movie. I think that the community manager has a little in common with the lion.

People, of varying importance, try to mess with you. They try to bait you, provoke you. Some members don’t like you. They say mean things to you, they accuse you of being corrupt, they laugh at you. You don’t sink to their level, you don’t attack them. You simply work through your process. Respond when appropriate, ignore when it’s the right choice and ban when enough is enough.

Sometimes people take this professionalism as a weakness and they gang up on you. They get bolder and bolder. They try to hurt your and your community. They push it too far. Someone will say something they shouldn’t have, do something they’ll wish they didn’t. And you’ll have a moment in which you’ll remind them of who you are.

I can’t tell you exactly what form that will take for you, but you’ll know. Whatever it is, it won’t mean abandoning your standards, but it will mean showing people – you, your staff, your members and/or others – why you are the best person to lead this community.

Every once in a while, the community manager has the show the jackals who he or she is.