Coincidentally, these are increasingly critical qualities for leaders operating in a highly networked global economy. It is scarcely a surprise that women, who are encouraged to nurture those qualities from early in their lives, are consistently rated by their employees as better leaders than men.
A great leader continually challenges her people to push beyond their current comfort zones. But pushing people too relentlessly eventually prompts fear and fatigue, both of which undermine great performance. In this case, the balancing opposite is nurturing and caring for those one leads.
Great athletes have long understood that intermittent rest and renewal are critical to sustainable high performance. Even machines break down if they’re not regularly maintained. Not even the most talented and passionate people can run on empty.
Given the extraordinary success of these men, the obvious question is whether being relentlessly hard on people, and even cruel, may get them to perform better.
What seems undeniable is that we need more leaders who make people feel the way Ms. Doughtie made me feel. I say that for a simple reason. The better leaders make us feel – including about ourselves — the better we are likely to perform.