The word tough has been used to describe the state of our economy. It has also been used to describe the character needed in a leader to get us out of challenging issues. What they are inferring is that tough times call for tough leaders.
The question is do we want leaders to be tough? If so, what exactly does it mean to be tough? I find the dictionary to be a simple yet powerful source for helping determine such things.
The word tough is defined as follows by Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary.
1. As an adjective: strong or firm in texture, flexible and not brittle
2. As a adverb: stickiness
3. As a noun: characterized by severity or uncompromising determination
4. As a transitive verb: capable of enduring strain, hardship
Which definition best depicts the kind of toughness we want or need in a leader?
Let's examine this more closely. First, when used as an adjective tough refers to tough meat, i.e., difficult to chew. I don't think we want our leaders to be difficult. Second, as an adverb sticking to something is great except you need leaders to let go. Third, a leader with uncompromising determination is appealing but life is full of the need to compromise. That leaves capable of enduring strain. I believe this fits the best.
We need leaders who are capable of carrying things that are difficult to bear and who won't buckle under the pressure. They need to endure criticism and hardship. A leader with this kind of toughness will be able to take on the challenges of leadership and be successful. The question is do we have enough transitive leaders.