I read this interesting article on the CareerBuilder site about being nice and being in a management position. Not always does being a nice guy pay off, in fact, it can hurt your career.
What it actually comes down to is balance and being a leader who can handle challenging people and situations. Many management and leadership are skills are not taught in a textbook, they are on the job skills, which are learned, day-to-day at work. They are also lessons that we are continually learning are changing.
What may work when dealing with one employee may not work with another. Many times when dealing with either tough or sensitive situations managers need to change their “style” so they may relate and handle each situation individually as they come up.
And, yes, as much most managers would like to be the “nice guy or gal” each day with their team, there are times when what they need to do, does not seem very nice.
I knew a manager who worked for a local optical shop, who tried please all of her staff because she wanted them to like her and in doing so, lost total control of the store and the respect as a manager and leader from many of the employees.
Managers need to be able to be firm, but gentle and respectful at all times. Check the article linked below for more information.