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The Emotional Labor of Being a Leader

Too often, people fail to realize its weight

Effective leaders have long managed the emotions they display at work. They project optimism and confidence when team members feel thwarted and discouraged. Or notwithstanding their skepticism about the company’s strategic direction, they carry the company flag and work to rally the troops.

This emotional labor, whereby leaders manage their feelings and expressions to fulfill the expectations of their role, is substantial. In fact, research suggests that leaders perform emotional labor with a frequency matching that of front-line service workers who must consistently deliver “service with a smile.” Given leaders’ substantial influence over group moods and emotional states and how these impact organizational performance, this emotional labor is essential.

Despite its importance, however, it has historically been overlooked by academics and organizations alike. And now, due to changes in the work landscape, the emotional labor leaders must perform is greater than ever.

Please select this link to read the complete article from Harvard Business Review.

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