Bullies aren’t Strong and Compassion isn’t Weak

tough tender bully compassion?

Great results require toughness. The belief that compassion is soft and toughness gets results explains why so little compassion exists in organizations.

I’m an either/or type person, it’s my nature. I wrongly believe combining contrasting qualities weakens both. But, toughness and compassion are perfect bedfellows.

Bullies aren’t strong and compassionate leaders aren’t weak.

Toughness infuses compassion with meaning.


Lowering achievable expectations isn’t compassion; it’s disrespect. Compassionate leaders respect talent by calling people to rise and meet challenges. Stretching is belief in potential.


Compassion’s toughness is seen in conflict. Weakness ignores or runs from conflict. Compassion faces conflict head on.


Compassion includes super-stars and rising-stars in its inner circle. Reach beyond how others enhance your image; consider how you enhance theirs.

Toughness requires supportive environments.

Heart of compassion:

Compassion springs from authenticity. Phonies fear and reject compassion. Authentic leaders accept their own frailties and abilities, in so doing; they open their hearts to others.

Accepting weaknesses is the first step toward maximizing strengths. Phony leaders don’t accept weaknesses and seldom maximize strengths.

Realize or release:

Compassion realizes potential in others; if not, it reassigns or releases. Expecting achievement extends compassion. “I believe in you,” expresses compassion.

Toughness expects people to pull heavy loads. Compassion pulls with them.

How are you bringing compassion and toughness together?

What examples of compassion and toughness have you seen?