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The Tough Loving Leader

Keep Your Trap Shut, Tough Loving Leader

If you don’t have something nice to say …

Whether you are a manager of many, and entrepreneur leading a few, or father leading a family the basics remain true.  There is a fine line between being overbearing and one that leads by tough love in a faithful manner.

In a world that has become soft and would rather focus on work-life balance rather than the bottom-line.  The demanding, sometimes abrasive and rude boss that requires structure and demands perfection is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

However, if you can find the proper balance of Tough and Love you may find yourself leading a team willing to follow you rather than run.

“When you build a relationship on trust, then the majority of people are OK with tough love,” says Christine Porath, a professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. – INC

TRUST is key to a leader’s success. As long as they lead their team with truth and faith the team will follow in trust. Whether it is a local congregation or a Fortune 500 company without trust, a leader you will never be.

The heart of a leader needs to be at the core of their decision-making. Even when the leader demands long hours and may have what could be considered unreasonable expectations. As long as their heart is in the right place and are leading with love, it is OK to hurt a little.

The tightrope though is maintaining the demanding nature while also maintaining the nurturing respect that the team they serve has grown to expect.

A leader can lead without being rude, condescending or belittling their staff. If the expectations are set and goals are given then the level of empowerment shifts to meet need.

“He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way.” – Psalm 25:9

Fear is not a motivator but being challenged at work rather than intimidated can be for some.  Negative activities such as personal attacks can be detrimental to morale and interfere even if the intent is honorable.  There is a level of toughness that can be useful when not exceedingly abrasive or rude.

A leader has the responsibility to treat their people with the respect and humbleness that they deserve.  Without a team that is following your lead, what team would you be leading anyway?  There is a difference between leading with tough love and also treating others with honor and respect versus being demeaning and unkind.

We, as leaders must be prepared to push our team and they in turn will be more open if they know you care.  As Jon Gordon says on his blog  “The old dictator tough, without love, style of leadership no longer works.”  If you are at ease with the team that you lead, be it workers, parishioners or family and treat them accordingly the team will continue to grow and flourish.

As long as you place you people’s needs above your own you will gain their respect.  Respect will in turn build trust within the team which will turn into their loyalty to serve you.  Learn as leaders to depend on your people and they will in turn depend on you.  If you instill belief in them they will believe in you.  Before you know it the tough love will come easier and be received more readily as your people will believe, trust and depend on you and know you do the same in return.

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. ” – Matthew 7:12

What kind of leader are you?  Are you Tough enough to lead?




About Charles Johnston

Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.

2 Replies

  1. Great thoughts Charles! Tough love is vital in today’s age. Love is about soft things but its about being truthful which requires courage. Have you read Joel Manby’s Love Works?

    1. cjohnstonjax

      Thanks Paul, and I have read Love Works one of my top books I recommend to others, not to mention great respect for the man and the businesses he runs.