Workplace Toughness, Do You Have Enough?

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workplace toughness

Workplace Toughness, Do You Have Enough?

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Are you tough enough to take it? Let’s be clear, almost any job can be a challenge from time-to-time. Workplace toughness will help carry you through, but only if you’re up for it.

I’ve written often about Emotional Labor. In my travels, speaking and providing training to lots of different people in many different sectors, I see some common themes. One is, Emotional Labor is required for every job.

Secondary to Emotional Labor is mastering the art of emotional self-control.

This is important during the good times, and it is especially critical during the tough times.

Workplace Toughness

Emotional self-control has many different requirements. The first thought is often of managing your anger. In any role, leadership, or otherwise, you’re going to have to harness and practice emotional self-control.

When a direct report doesn’t achieve the required expectations and a customer is let down. When a direct report challenges you or your decisions. And, of course, we can’t omit mentioning tough customer requirements, sloppy vendors, or even the board of directors.

Emotional self-control is not always about anger or upset. It may be about the ability to hold back a laugh or other types of emotional displays.

Leadership sometimes seems easy, yet only a few of the best rise to the top of the high-performance scale. It may take years of practice to master emotional self-control.

Label it biting your tongue, sucking it up, or toughing it out.

There is a phrase, “A smooth sea never made a good sailor.”

You’re a better leader when you’ve mastered workplace toughness.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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