International Challenges and Perspectives
Edited by Jeffrey A. Raffel, Peter Leisink and Anthony E. Middlebrooks
Chapter 13: Beyond Cognition: Affective Leadership and Emotional Labor
Meredith A. Newman, Mary E. Guy and Sharon H. Mastracci Leadership boils down to a series of social exchanges in which the leader can drive the other person’s emotions into a better or worse state. (Goleman 2006, p. 276) Leadership touches the human spirit, and touching the human spirit has always been the work of art and aesthetics. It’s not surprising, therefore, that good leaders have always thought of leadership as more of an art than a science. (Denhardt and Denhardt 2006, p. 175) Leadership . . . is above all an emotional phenomenon. (Popper 2005, p. 4) Public Service leadership is soulwork. (Kramer 2002, p. 131) Group leadership is far more an art than a science. (Bennis 2000, p. 140) Attention to any number of high-profile administrative and leadership failures (FEMA Director Brown’s response to Hurricane Katrina) and successes (NY Mayor Giuliani’s response to 9/11) encourages us to rethink our assumptions about what it takes to be an effective leader – or more precisely to be an affective leader. How do the concepts of emotional labor and artful affect translate into our understanding of leadership? Where would one find affective leadership in practice? In order to address these questions we conducted field research into the daily work experiences of public servants on the front-line of service delivery. The purpose of this chapter is to use their ‘stories’ to advance our understanding of leadership and to shine a bright light on the skills that are inherent to its practice. How might leadership relate to...
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