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Can Kindness and Toughness Co-Exist in Leadership?

Spanky I loved the "Little Rascals" movies shown on television growing up. I watched them every weekday after school as a child in Southern California in the 70s. Anyone else have that memory? One particular episode has stuck in my mind for years. Spanky (photo to the right), one of the main young characters was about to get a spanking. Spanky was always fairly mischievous and pretty smart. Before the spanking was to be delivered, he put a book down the back of his pants to cushion the blow. Spanky's father, as he put his son over his knee said "son, this is going to hurt me a lot more than it is going to hurt you." Spanky mumbles something like "you can say that again."

I am not sure if that memory has stuck in my mind because I thought putting a book down my pants before getting whacked would be a good idea or because of what his father said. As a dad myself, before disciplining my own kids I have always tried to think "is this hurting me more than it is hurting them?" It's a great litmus test for parents when disciplining their kids.

Can kindness and toughness co-exist? Of course. Can parents discipline their children, but still be kind? Of course. Why? Because they care. Leaders can be kind, but still hold people accountable. Kindness is not contradictory to toughness when leaders care. As parents we do it all the time. As leaders we sometimes aren't so good at it. Why?

Have you read yesterdays post? "Do you believe leaders ought to be kind? Does it really matter?" How about this post on the importance of leaders smiling? "Does Smiling Make You a Better Leader? Top Four Reasons You Should Smile More."

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Mike Rogers
Founder and owner of Teamwork and Leadership
MikerogersMike has led, trained and consulted in business with hundreds of
individuals and teams on leadership and team concepts. He has served in a
number of entry level to senior level positions in both business and
volunteer work. His greatest satisfaction is seeing others succeed.

He is the proud father of eight children and one Grandchild and has
been married 25 years to the best part of his day! If you would like to
contact Mike you can do so at