Popularity in leadership is a contradiction. We rightly prize the leader who does not court popularity, who makes difficult decisions and does what is right. At the same time, in free societies, people only really lead by consent and, without a certain level of confidence and respect, leaders cannot do their jobs.
It is amazing how seemingly intractable conflicts disappear with the right timeframe. If only you can play a long enough game, you can almost have it all. If we could build longer term thinking into our organisations we would see a sustained improvement in performance and welfare.