No Soft Leaders: Why HR Consulting CEO Kelly Kubicek is Encouraging Managers to Toughen Up

By David Thompson

Nov 15, 2022 01:33 PM EST

Kelly Kubicek(Kelly Kubicek) (Credit: Getty Image)

Just because a team leader is friendly doesn't mean they are a good boss. In fact, an overly friendly manager might actually hurt their organization more than help it.

Think about it: If a C-suite exec cares more about what their workers think of them than delivering great results and making progress, it can lead to low productivity and laziness from workers who consider the boss a friend rather than a leader. 

It's time to stop creating soft leaders in the workplace, according to Fulcrum HR Consulting CEO Kelly Kubicek. 

"If your management team spends time worrying about whether or not people like them, nothing will ever get accomplished. What if there are legitimate problems happening that are being ignored because nobody wants to be the squeaky wheel?" asked Kubicek.

Of course, workers shouldn't feel like they are part of some kind of dictatorship, but bosses also shouldn't have to conform to the pressure of soft leadership (i.e., being overly kind and friendly, agreeable, and creating friendships with employees).

Industry Thought-Leader

It's no surprise hearing these thoughts from Kubicek, who has positioned herself as a thought leader in the industry thanks to her edgy and outspoken views. But companies are listening up since she gets serious results. 

Whether it's overhauling the payroll for state governments with thousands of employees or creating from-scratch company cultures for up-and-coming tech startups, Kubicek is part of the HR world vanguard. 

Her inspiring techniques for pulling high-level work from satisfied employees while also teaching bosses to provide transparent and inclusive leadership have resonated with heads of Fortune 500 companies across several industries, earning her a reputation as someone to listen to.

Her company, Fulcrum HR Consulting, provides HR outsourcing services, training, consulting, development, and more.

Social Intelligence

According to Kubicek, avoiding soft leadership doesn't mean being a hard-nose, however. On the contrary, she's built her name as a 'social intelligence guru' that teaches leaders to lead with empathy and support staff that are suffering hard times - both on the job or off-site.  

Empathy is not the same as friendship and soft leadership, though. "There are better ways to manage people. I never want employees to feel alone, and I think they deserve the chance to truly make an impact. I teach leaders how to be supportive and empathetic without being soft," she said. 

This means forging authentic connections with staff that don't cross the line into pushover territory. 

Kubicek's philosophies are - at least partially - informed by her own experiences as both an employee and a boss. She has suffered from a cancer diagnosis and knows firsthand what it's like to be balancing work with something catastrophic happening outside the office. 

"You don't know what people are going through in their lives outside the office. There could be illness, violence, mental health issues, family problems; it's always better to lead from a place of understanding," she said.  

Below are just two of the benefits of ditching soft leadership styles in your organization. 

Transformational Leadership

Once you move away from soft leading and toward a more strictly inspiring and mentoring atmosphere, you'll see your leadership transform.

Transformational bosses like to challenge people, inspire tough conversations, and generate progress. Constructive feedback is given without fear of hurting someone's feelings and necessitates employees making necessary changes or facing consequences. This diverts long-term, larger issues in the future and keeps mistakes from being repeated in the future.

You'll be doing your employees a service as well. After all, coddled employees rarely excel, often lack ambition, and struggle to develop new skills. 

Conflict Resolution

If there is an issue between two employees and the boss is mediating the discussion, soft leaders often leave the conversation without any progress being made because they are trying to please everybody.

Decisiveness and honesty are important when running interference so that you aren't sitting down to rehash the same conversation in a few weeks - or so a small issue doesn't become a huge one. 

Using ideas like this as a basis for HR improvement, companies around the country have benefited from Kubicek's services. Her clients report an impressive average increase of 27% revenue per employee alongside a 21% retention increase.

To learn more about how Fulcrum HR Consulting can abolish soft leadership from your organization, visit Kubicek's website. 

About Kelly Kubicek

Kelly Kubicek, CEO of Fulcrum HR Consulting, is on a mission to make HR more transparent. Fulcrum HR Consulting boasts vast HR experience, including accomplishments such as consolidating the entirety of over 9000 Nebraska state employees in one system in under 12 months and extensive work in human capital consulting. efforts. To discover how to uplevel your HR Process visit 

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