Thinking about myself, I think this way of thinking reflects well on the school year. The first half of the year is to a great extent, about style points. You have to keep the kids accountable, but also maintain a positive, working rapport. You need to make sure they respect you, but can also ask questions if they need help. You want to cut them breaks if possible, but you also need to follow through if you make a promise.
But as the second half of the year comes around, the style points start to matter less and less. With limited time left in the year, and the classroom environment is now set...and it's time to go big. With the end in sight, making sure your class "likes" you or has a positive environment can start to fade to the background as it's already been established. That's not to say it's time to abandon all positive elements of the classroom, but in the playoffs, it's all about winning.