Leading with emotional labor

  • Humphrey R
  • Pollack J
  • Hawver T
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Abstract

Purpose – This paper seeks to argue that leaders perform emotional labor whenever they display emotions in an attempt to influence their subordinates’ moods and motivations. Design/methodology/approach – This is a conceptual paper that integrates the literature on leadership with the research on emotional labor. Findings – This paper develops 15 propositions that distinguish emotional labor performed by leaders from that performed by front-line service workers. Research limitations/implications – The paper suggests that leading with emotional labor is a fruitful research topic, and that considerable research could be done in this area. Practical implications – Instead of conducting business in a non-emotional, “business-like manner”, leaders would benefit by expressing their emotions in the workplace. Emotionally expressive leaders are more charismatic and are better motivators. Originality/value – This is the first paper to develop a theoretical model that describes how leaders perform emotional labor; thus the propositions are origina

Author-supplied keywords

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Leadership

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Authors

  • Ronald H. Humphrey

  • Jeffrey M. Pollack

  • Thomas Hawver

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