Updated on August 3, 2016
How to lead with a strong hand and a gentle touch
It’s the strong hand, not the weak one that must learn to be gentle. (Gary Thomas)
I don’t often write about my job here. But for this post, I think it’s important to understand what I do and how gentleness has become a part of how I lead.
I’m a manager of people. I’m the boss. (I always hate that by the way, when introducing myself to a new employee I don’t like pointing out that “I’m The Boss.”) Having a boss should be a safety net. When things are out of control, when an employee is not performing, when a customer is screaming and wants to speak to the boss, it’s my responsibility to swoop in and deal with the situation.
So it is, that I have the opportunity to lead people for a living. Now we all lead someone, even (or especially) if we’re leading our children or others in our family. So for all of us, no matter who we lead, I have some words of wisdom for leading with gentleness that I hope you will find useful.
Leading requires a strong hand. Balance your strong hand with a gentle touch.
People deserve truth. Speak truth, but do it with love and respect. Be mindful that people may not like the truth, but they can and will deal with the truth.
Hold people accountable and allow them to experience consequences for their actions. Rescuing, not confronting, or letting things go too often, will reduce the respect the person has for you as well as exacerbate the behavior.
Approach others’ weaknesses and limitations with compassion. The saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” applies here. Put love first.
Be vulnerable enough to be relatable. When people sense you’re willing to be open and honest about yourself, they will trust you to lead them where they aren’t sure they want to go.
Admit when you’ve made a mistake. Apologies go a long way with people you lead.
Have a little fun. Tell jokes, pull some pranks, celebrate birthdays. People want to know that you’re real and relatable.
If the fruit of the Spirit is gentleness, then let our strong hand with a soft touch be the difference that defines us as we lead others.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. Philippians 4:5