According to the Wall Street Journal, workers "value kindness in their boss" and compassion--this is natural, as we are all human with tests, frailties, and yes, everyone even makes some mistakes (and hopefully they learn from it).
So while there may seem to be a contradiction between being nice and being an effective leader, there really is not.
For example, we can have empathy for people, while still holding them accountable to do a good job through programs like flexible schedules, telework, and other workplace accommodations.
Power in the organization can be wielded by a boss in so many ways, and they don't even have to eat their spinach to do it.
From what assignments you get, whether you have to work odd hours, to whether you get a good evaluation or even that promotion, for that matter.
Many may be too quick to put on the punching gloves, however.
Sometimes, the boss will laud publicly over some employees, while degrading or shunning others...that sends a message doesn't it.
Worse is boss that yells, tells someone their ideas are stupid, or glares at someone like they are a moron...that takes someone straight to employment hell.
The email chain is the classic message!
So while power can be wielded, it can also be shielded by appreciating each person for what they can do and their contribution, if sincere and merited.
While employees value a nice boss, this doesn't mean that we don't want to be challenged, we do--challenge adds some meaning to our jobs and our day--that's why 75% would rather work for a high-achieving, but demanding boss than a nice, but ineffective one.
But combine nice and high-achieving into a boss, and I think we will all want to work for such a leader and follow them wherever they go! ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)