Most leaders say that it's better to be the "nice guy" than a tough, abrasive boss, but data suggest that charm and empathy alone aren't enough to drive worker engagement. A study found that bosses who combined "nice" traits with a tough, even slightly mean streak tended to do a much better job of keeping employees on track, write Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman. "[N]either approach is sufficient in itself. Rather, both are needed to make real headway in increasing employee engagement," they write.

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