Those Who Mistake Kindness For Weakness Are The Problem
I once worked with someone who believed that success in business required you to be, in his words, "a cold, heartless bastard".
In his world view, vulnerability and emotion were liabilities. You had to maintain a distance with your employees, enforcing a visible, tangible hierarchy, because they had to know who was boss. And even with your peers, you had to be careful, never quite revealing all of your cards, lest you "expose your hand".
I always found him to cut a sad figure. Outwardly serene, but inwardly insecure. An individual who had to work extra hard to maintain the pretence of who he was, or rather who he wanted others to think he was. And every so often, the conflict was evident, as his actions betrayed his inner monologue.
I never agreed with his approach. It never made sense to me, as it never rang true with what I thought a leader should be.
I've always believed that the mark of a real leader is one who isn't afraid to share real emotions. One who is willing to expose their own insecurities. One who is willing to extend a kindness, at the expense of betraying some superficial persona.
Because to do so is to be real. To be honest. To understand that this act of opening yourself up and being good to your team, your peers, is the right thing to do. That those who matter, those who should be on your team, will recognize your intent and respond appropriately. (And those that don't simply shouldn't be on your team in the first place.)
The point is to be secure enough in yourself to show your humanity.
And to recognize that that humanity - that kindness - isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength.
Everything else takes care of itself.