What exactly does this mean? Probably the most commonly held view is that “hard” means tough, data based and “soft” stands for unreliable, easy subjective judgements.
I would suggest that when considering performance, the toughest, most accountable and responsible outcome is derived from clear expectations that are discussed, understood and agreed to. Once genuine agreement is reached there is response/ability – the ability to respond to what’s been agreed to.
It’s not a matter of “hard” or “soft” – It’s about placing the responsibility where it belongs – from directing to connecting.