Authentic Leadership
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Authentic Leadership

Clashes, Convergences and Coalescences

Edited by Donna Ladkin and Chellie Spiller

The majority of authentic leadership literature focuses on the individual leader. However, the authors in this volume expertly focus on the premise that leadership is a relational phenomenon and not something that can be distilled down to the actions of one leader, be they authentic or not.
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Chapter 7: Essay: laboring under false pretences? The emotional labor of authentic leadership

Caroline Clarke, Clare Kelliher and Doris Schedlitzki


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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