Are Your Leaders ‘Tough Enough’?

by | Jan 17, 2022

by Nick Roud Executive Coach 

We’ve all seen it or heard about really ‘tough’ leaders. The tough leaders that nobody dares say bo to in fear of losing not only your dignity but your job. You know the ones I am talking about. 

  • The me me me me type leaders, 

  • the leaders who shout and scream and smash things around, 

  • the leaders who speak first when actually great leaders speak last,

  • the leaders who bulldoze an idea to only serve their own pleasure, 

  • the leader who;s ego is so huge the board room doors need to be widened for him/her to prance into the room, 

  • the leader who only cares for themselves and not their people, 

  • the leader who manipulates others and hugs the spotlight. 

  • The leader who is happy to throw you under the bus to save his or her arse.

As an executive coach I get to witness many shades of tough leadership, fortunately I have only witnessed first hand a few of the above traits prior to establishing Nick Roud Coaching. 

Many conversations are shared with me in confidence about how ‘bad or toxic’ a leader is, and, if not managed well, will see loyal caring and smart professionals leave that company. The board and Chair will need more eyes and ears on the ground moving forwards than they ever have in the past.

I think and believe the world needs more tough leaders and in today’s leadership blog I share thoughts and insights. 

Before reviewing the traits we need to see in tough leadership, lets understand and embrace what is not acceptable;

  1. Bullying

  2. Harassing 

  3. Manipulating

  4. It’s my way or the highway attitude

  5. Not willing or wanting to take feedback

  6. Don’t believe in new ways of doing things

  7. Shouting / Screaming at people to get their own way

  8. Micromanaging (to the point of exhaustion)

  9. Allowing bad behaviour 

  10. Ego

  11. Lack of empathy (or as I like to call it lack of humanity) 

  12. They make others feel bad about themselves and useless not worthy

  13. No it alls 

  14. Lacks integrity, lacks grit and lacks passion and commitment

This is just a short list but I hope it gives you a taste of what organisations and it’s people do not want to see in leaders (or in fact any of it’s people.

Leadership is more about how you engage and treat others, it shouldn’t be a matrix on a P&L and it has to come from within.

Tough leaders bring so much more to the table.

— Nick Roud – Executive Coach

So what must the world see more of in tough leaders and how impactful will this be as we head into 2022 and beyond? 

  1. Empathy (towards people and the people that matter to them)

  2. Calmness

  3. Appreciation

  4. Zero tolerance for bad behavior (including, bullying, harassment, narcissistic behaviours, lying, fraud etc)

  5. Team first attitude

  6. Ethics

  7. Ownership / responsibility / vision / creativity 

  8. Grace

  9. Honesty 

  10. Creating future leaders

  11. Takes on board feedback

  12. Willing and wanting to learn more

Tough leadership will see our leaders and future leaders embracing others and support them forwards. It will take you the leader getting comfortable with being vulnerable and allowing the human leadership approach that will ensure not only your people are successful but your organisation’s last the test of time. 

Leadership is a muscle that can be learnt, it can be developed and people can change.

Interested in finding out more about your own leadership then I’d encourage you to get in touch. 

Yours in coaching

Nick x


For a confidential conversation about your leadership coaching needs, call Nick on +6421375630 or email him

Nick Roud

Nick Roud

Executive Leadership Coach

Nick is the Chairman of Nick Roud Coaching and a Global Award Winning Executive Coach. Nick holds the highest coaching qualification MCEC. His clients are typically Chief Executive Officers, Executives and Emerging Leaders. Nick’s office is based in Auckland, New Zealand and he travels extensively around the world to coach his clients. You can contact Nick directly on +6421375630