I think many of us want people who work for us to like us. That is not bad in itself, but we all know it has risks. We must find our sense of value as people outside of feedback we are getting. If my sense of worth relies on how my workers think of me, then I am a crippled leader. I compromise my ability to decide for the best of the company and for the long term interests of all if I am looking for approval for my actions from those I lead.
I think most leaders have some sense of this. We are all susceptible to it to wanting follower approval to some degree. We must step back from that. We must look in the mirror, and find out who we are and not pander to public opinion.
I am not saying that we should not hear all that our workers want to say and more. That is far from my meaning. We need to work hard to get then to tell us all that we do not want to hear.
Once we get them to speak, we will likely hear some criticism. We need to know what to do then. We need to thank them for their courage if they were brave enough to speak against us. If they did it respectfully, then they deserve encouragement even if they hurt us by their words. It is not easy.
Being either defensive or fearful will not help. We need to stand our ground. Seek further counsel if necessary and then decide what to do.
The harder part is when workers do not talk to you directly but treat you or your ideas coldly. Over time this can wear you down and start to change your leadership. Face the coldness and talk to people explicitly to get issues in the open. It will help you. It will help them. Do not get undone by workers. You are the leader. Take initiative to fix uneasy atmosphere and be decisive as needed.
Finally if you do not know who you are and the winds of opinion push you around, then I encourage you to spend more time looking at yourself. It sounds pretty introspective, but I have found that leaders need to do that. We need to understand who we are and how are behaviors are impacting others. If we need to change, then we should. We should be at peace with the rest.