It’s more important as a manager to be respected than to be popular.
1. Think back to a leader you had—a parent, teacher, coach, or boss who got great performance from you. More than likely, this was a leader who combined tough and nice. You knew that person cared about you, but that he or she would not let up on you in the quest for excellence.
2. If you, as a leader, demand that your people add value to the organization through their work, you must fulfill you end of the bargain by telling the truth and keeping work standards high. This often means sacrificing popularity in your endeavor to do the right thing.
3. Are you willing to push your people—whether it’s a group of middle managers or a Cub Scout pack—beyond their comfort zone in order to achieve excellence? They might not like what you ask of them, but they will remember you as a leader they respected.
From "Everyone's a Coach" by Ken Blanchard and Don Shula