Leading with emotional labor

Ronald H. Humphrey (Department of Management, School of Business, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA)
Jeffrey M. Pollack (Department of Management, School of Business, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA)
Thomas Hawver (Department of Management, School of Business, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Publication date: 15 February 2008

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 original.

Keywords

Citation

Humphrey, R., Pollack, J. and Hawver, T. (2008), "Leading with emotional labor", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 151-168. https://doi.org/10.1108/02683940810850790

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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