Going Soft is a Man’s Worst Nightmare


I know what you’re thinking, there are few nightmares worse than going soft, especially when being hard is important and the need is immediate. We can talk about being hard all day, but did you know that going soft is sometimes what needs to happen, especially as a way to ensure the relationship stays intact? I mean, really, what man wants to be hard 24/7? And for that matter, what woman wants that?

Let’s look at it this way, when you’re hard all the time, you forget about communication, it’s all about action and results. When you’re okay with being soft, you value communication, value the needs of the other person, and even think about what could happen long-term.

I am not telling you that you should be hard or soft, but I am telling you that sometimes it is okay to not be one or the other. Sometimes you have to give up something for the greater good, especially if your business is involved.

What I’m really talking about here is managerial styles, specifically hard and soft ones. These are important to a business for a few reasons:

  • They can make or break employee attitude
  • They can turn a motivated employee into an apathetic one
  • Or can turn an apathetic employee into a motivated one
  • They can help or harm business efficiency and profits

Hard Management

Go hard or go home, right? Well, anyone can think like that, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best way to go. Hard management involves a focus on the business, rather than on the people making the business what it is. This has an impact in a few ways:

  • Profits can increase – because the focus is on cost-effectiveness, lower pay, making fast and furious decisions, and the business plan.
  • Employee happiness is diminished – it’s all about results, who cares if you have a sick child or might not understand exactly what you’re doing. Get it done anyway!
  • Absenteeism increases – employees can get stressed out, especially if you’re going hard on them all the time, demanding results, without thinking of the fallout.
  • Turnover rate is higher – the less happy an employee is, the more likely they are to quit. This results in costs for recruitment, hiring, and training new employees.

Soft Management

It’s all butterflies and ice cream. Soft management is thought to defer to employees, allowing them to do whatever they want, but guess what? That really isn’t the case. Soft management keeps the employee in mind, while focusing on the business. How does this impact a business?

  • Long-term success over short-term profits – Business want to see profits right away, but looking at the long-term is more important, unless the business wants to shut its doors within 5 years.
  • Communication = Greater understanding and productivity –Some employees need communication. They not only need to know that they are on the right track, but they also need to know they are valued. Spending time with them, such as doing a one-on-one, can not only help the employee’s motivation, but can also help productivity AND profits.
  • Empowerment – Oh no! Not empowerment!!! Who wants empowered employees? Actually, every business should. When an employee feels empowered they take more responsibility. They work harder. They are motivated, productive, and potentially excited to do their jobs.
  • Turnover is low – Soft management helps an employee feel valued. When an employee feels valued, they want to stay in their job. This helps reduce costs associated with recruitment, hiring, and training.

I’m not saying that a business should defer to employees, but it is important for any business to value the resources they have, which includes employees. If you’re willing to keep your building, machinery, and office equipment serviced and in good working order, why not do that with employees? They are as important, if not more important, than any other resource you have. Just imagine your business with them? How does that look?


About Author

Margaret Murrow

Margaret obtained her M.S. in Organizational Psychology and Nonprofit Management in 2014 after spending a decade focused on homeschooling her four children. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Health Psychology and has earned a certification in stress management coaching. When she is not studying, she spends time working as a freelance writer and a certified stress management and business coach for employers around the world.