My father was a retail executive for most of his professional career.  As such, he's met a lot of people along the way.  Some have come and gone, while others are still around.  Interestingly, in almost every case his relationships are not defined by the success or failure of a particular business relationship.  Instead, the relationship today is defined by the nature of the interaction on a more human level.  Was there a mutual respect?  Was there understanding in difficult times?  Did one party help the other when he/she didn't necessarily need to do so or when it wouldn't have been the most obvious business decision?

Business publications and top business leaders preach that we should be tough, true to the needs of the shareholder and to the needs of the business.  Sometimes we can take that advice, and make a binary choice in favor of the business at the expense of our relationships with other people.  We can take the Type-A businessman/businesswoman thing so seriously that it actually hurts our ability to drive the business in the long run.  And it makes you an insufferable person who nobody really cares for in the end.

I'm not sure it's quite that binary — you can be both demanding and understanding as an employer.  In fact, I'd say the best executives know balance.  It takes a lot of hard work, energy, and patience, no doubt about it.  But there are a few benefits — 1) you can be satisfied knowing that you have built a tough, yet demanding environment for your business, 2) you have the grace to deal with life's inevitable difficulties, 3) you ultimately get loyal employees who can perpetuate your organization as it grows, 4) you can be there for each other in the future to share memories and life's challenges.