Tough love, ya even Christians need to show tough love, but with the love of Jesus

I really think this article in Inc Magazine is very pertinent for everyone, but should be readily understandable by managers who are Christians. We’ve all heard the phrase “tough love”, but Issie Lapowsky points out that maybe we should be aware that there should be a balance between tough and love: “…research shows that tough love can be an effective form of leadership provided one strikes the proper balance between “tough” and “love”.  (Feb 2014 pp 46-47)

Lapowsky points out what we as Christians should be striving for: “The challenge is to set high demands while still being supportive. ‘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. ‘They’ll rise to the occasion; some thrive on it.’

Frank Poore the founder of CommerceHub,… talks about how he will push his employees, but wants them to push back, he challenges them and wants them to defend their positions. But he also points out that he never makes it about them personally.

I agree, I want people to take a position, I want to find where people are. Ya, I guess it’s not playing into the kissy-kissy type of mindset that we have in society, but I think relationships grow with candor. I’m not trying to challenge, so much as I’m trying to engage, show how much I’m interested, because I’m pretty much always interested. In addition to challenging, anyone in leadership should be curious about pretty much everything. I don’t want to pry, but I do want people to feel comfortable confiding, I do want people to think that I’m someone who is interested and a good listener.

Too often I’ve seen managers/supervisors belittling a subordinate. OK, if necessary, you go back into a private space and candidly, but again not personally discuss what the problems are. If someone takes that personally, well, can’t do much with that. Frankly there are too many people who think that anything short of unqualified praise is a personal attack. Those people are going to have bigger problems than anything I’m going to be able to deal with, other than in a pastoral context. Even then too many people think of pastors as feel-good generators, sometimes you should even when they are wrong, but tough-love is as valid for pastors then anyone.

We all, ya pastors included, don’t like rudeness, respond to it poorly and are much less productive. That should be pretty obvious, but to too many people it’s not. Are we being critical because we are truly concerned, because we want to help? Or are we being critical just to benefit our ego? Jesus pushed on those around Him to strive to be best and often He had to show tough love, let’s learn from Him and try to emulate Him in the workplace and in every part of our life.

We still take some time during the workweek at the Green Bean Coffee shop corner of Beaver St and W King St Wednesday 10am, park right behind the church 140 W King. Look forward to meeting you or hearing from you. God bless.

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