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How to Give Tough Love at Work

Tough love has been used by therapists and parents to get results, so it seems only logical to bring the method into the workplace.


  • Step 1: Be firm Stand your ground without being demanding or aggressive. Tough love is about getting results, but not at the cost of being emotional or difficult.
  • Step 2: Communicate the required behaviors Make sure everyone at work understands the type of behaviors that are expected. In order to stress the tough portion of tough love, make sure they understand the consequences of not following these behaviors.
  • Step 3: Hold everyone to the same standards Hold everyone at work to the same high expectations. Enforce the rules, and make sure everyone follows them.
  • Step 4: Offer constructive criticism Offer constructive criticism that is honest and to the point. Don't treat bad behavior as if it is no big deal. Make sure to praise good behavior.
  • TIP: Be prepared to receive constructive criticism in return.
  • Step 5: Set limits Set limits on unreasonable demands if you are an employee. Bosses are not the only ones who can administer tough love at work. Offer a compromise that is more beneficial when faced with an overwhelming workload.
  • Step 6: Make your word final If you are the boss, make it clear that you are open to hearing everyone's opinions and that you welcome feedback, but that it's up to you to make final decision. Don't let your employees bully you into implementing ineffective policies.
  • FACT: In a 2009 study, people who worried about losing their jobs had worse overall health than those who actually lost their jobs.

You Will Need

  • High standards
  • Communication skills
  • Limits

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