It made me think about this subject quite a lot. It is an interesting topic that is very close to my heart. I have always believed ‘Soft’ can definitely be ‘Hard.’ I worked in the NHS for 35 years and at various times in my career;
- I was told I was too soft as a manager - I should be harder
- I was told my heart ruled my head too often
- I was told I did not have the ruthlessness needed to reach the top
- I was told I was too close to the staff I manage
- I was told I was too close to patients and their carers
- I was told I was too easy going
- I was told that I was idealistic
- I was told I was too trusting of people.
I would probably agree with all those things said about me.
However with time to now reflect about that list I would rather be remembered for those 8 qualities then a list of the opposite 8 qualities;
- Too hard
- Head always rules heart
- Distant and removed from staff
- Distant and removed from customers
- Miss trusting of people
I also think the qualities in the first list do not mean that you cannot be ‘tough when the going gets tough’. I am happy to receive counter arguments on this. I will carry on being driven by the items on list one – it has stood me in good stead for my life so far.
We all have strengths and preferred styles – mine happens to be more on the softer side. There is always a risk that people will take advantage of good nature but I remain optimistic and trusting.
The greatest leader I have ever met is also the most humble and ‘soft’ person I have ever met. His concern is always for people.