Clashes, Convergences and Coalescences
New Horizons in Leadership Studies series
Edited by Donna Ladkin and Chellie Spiller
Chapter 7: Essay: laboring under false pretences? The emotional labor of authentic leadership
This chapter is concerned with examining the relationship between emotional labor and authentic leadership. At first glance emotional labor, where the employee is expected to manage his or her emotions in the context of social interactions at work, and authentic leadership, where emphasis is on adhering to an authentic self, would appear to be contradictory notions. By exploring the underlying assumptions which inform each concept, the chapter considers the relationship between them in depth and examines their similarities as well as the contradictions between them. If leadership is about ‘getting things done’ with and through others, then leaders need to develop and maintain relationships with those they manage. Much has been written in the leadership field about how managers might be more effective in their leader–follower relationships. In recent years the idea that effective leaders are ‘authentic’ has gained much currency. Avolio et al. (2005) have gone so far as to argue that authenticity is the root of all positive and effective leadership. Drawing on ancient Greek philosophy, authentic leadership scholars suggest that leaders need to know their true self and act in harmony with this true self (Harter 2002). This definition has been further split into four behaviors that are expected to govern the thoughts and actions of an authentic leader: critical self-awareness; relational transparency; openness for and processing of objective information, including that which is critical of their own beliefs; and ‘an internalized moral perspective’ that affects self-regulation (Caza and Jackson 2011, p. 354).
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