Leading with Depth: The Impact of Emotions and Relationships on Leadership

Author(s) : Claudia Nagel

Leading with Depth: The Impact of Emotions and Relationships on Leadership

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : September 2023
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 376
  • Category :
    Organisational Psychology
  • Catalogue No : 97145
  • ISBN 13 : 9781800132290
  • ISBN 10 : 1800132298

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Leadership goes well beyond efficient management, and the significance of emotions on the success of organisations is often underestimated. In Leading With Depth: The Impact of Emotions and Relationships, Claudia Nagel guides us through the emotional and relational fallacies of organisational leadership from both the personal and the systemic perspective.

Nagel expertly weaves theory, including attachment, neuroscientific, psychodynamic, psychosocial, and psychoanalytic, with practical advice. She looks at the leader as an individual and leadership as a context within systems such as groups, organisations, and societies. The book is divided into two parts and contains thirty-eight figures to illustrate important aspects of leadership. The first chapter in each part is purely theoretical followed by more method-oriented and practical chapters, which are complemented by pertinent case studies from well-known experts in the field (coaches, consultants, or academics). Contributors include Gilles Amado, Birgitte Bonnerup, Phil Boxterk, Halina Brunning, Annemette Hasselager, Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries, Olya Khaleelee, Fiona Martin, Ajit Menon, Rose Mersky, Mal O’Connor, Larissa Philatova, Martin Ringer, Rob Ryan, and Kalina Stamenova. Each chapter concludes with a brief overview of the key learnings for the reader to take away. In this way, Nagel encourages practical learning and application and engagement with the text.

Nagel’s clear language spares the reader of academic jargon and is highly readable. The book successfully bridges the gap from theoretical concepts to real-life application and will be of value to incoming and experienced leaders alike, as well as organisational consultants and executive coaches looking to inform their practice.

Reviews and Endorsements

Claudia Nagel takes you on a vivid journey into the inner world of people, companies, and how organisations really work. By exploring what drives us and examining different leadership traits, she shines a spotlight on what really happens at the heart of companies. An interesting and enlightening read that every leader should have close to hand.
Stefan Behr, CEO of J.P.Morgan SE

Claudia Nagel’s inspiring book analyses leadership from a psychological perspective: leaders’ emotions, ambivalences, doubt, uncertainty, and the pressure they feel. By introducing handy analogies – such as “the leader as container”, that is, creating a trusted, safe space in which a team can grow – she invites her readers on a journey into the age of hybrid work, Zoom fatigue, love, loneliness, and work friendship. A wise and thought-provoking book.
Prof. Gerd Gigerenzer, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

I loved reading this book. It confirms what is, of course, not something new: management and leadership are much more than technical skills. But it is thrilling the way it illustrates how personal and individual behaviour influences leadership. It is striking to learn how these factors contribute to performance. It offers insights into what might trigger patterns and, consequently, allows us to derive solutions from a team and personal perspective. It’s all about people.
Dr Ulrich Hüllman, CFO, Viessmann Group Holding

This book presents a unique knowledge collection on leadership and leaders and their emotional set up. It offers theoretical perspectives and practical solutions enriched with varied case studies. Prof. Nagel has produced a masterful piece of clear scholarship and practical insights in a very approachable way. I highly appreciate her excellent knowledge of how leaders today must deal with the demands from changing economics and societies.
Issy Drori, Emeritus Professor, VU Amsterdam

You believe you’re leading in a purely rational way? No, that’s impossible.” Claudia Nagel had coined this term earlier. And it’s the perfect launchpad for this book. Allow yourself the benefit of doubt behind your firm belief. Start observing your own emotions, get suspicious and curious about yourself. Look deeper, emotions are your constant companion. They affect how you arrive at decisions and how you guide and motivate the humans around you. Leadership is deeply embedded in the human factor, i.e. the subtle, yet immensely powerful, emotional interaction between people. Study and understand what’s going on in you. Reflect on your impact on the people around you and what drives them: hope as much as anxiety, conflict as much as uncertainty and change. Nagel’s book delivers on the provocation. It provides an exhaustive compendium of real-life insights and great food for thought. The set-up combines conceptual and illustrative parts with great added value from case studies. Think Leadership with Depth.
Dr. Robert Bente, entrepreneur and multiple supervisory board member

Prof. Nagel provides a crystal-clear overview of what has been learned about leadership and about what is needed to strengthen it. Complementing her framework, the succeeding chapters each explore related issues, experiences, and dilemmas that beautifully illustrate the book’s main focus. While addressing complex issues, the writing is accessible and direct. In one stunning insight after another, this book clearly shows how effective leadership helps us transform experience into meaning, and how it supports our ability to think rather than act impulsively. It is an important advance in our understanding of how emotional life and relationships affect leaders’ success. One that I highly recommend to leaders, consultants, and academics.
James Krantz, Principal, WorkLab

Nagel summarises theory and explains it using examples from her work. There is a sense of her voice, as she interweaves her own opinions and remarks – which I enjoyed. [...] Nagel helps us understand how emotions and relationships impact a leader's successes and failures.
Mel Kinross, MBACP (Accred), counsellor and supervisor, BACP, Therapy Today, April 2024, 35:3

Table of Contents

Foreword by Anton Obholzer


Introduction: Hidden forces

Setting the tone

Managing and holding
Case study of negative capability – avoiding premature decisions
Larissa Philatova

Effective and dysfunctional leaders
Case study of a narcissistic leader – a star or showman?
Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries

We are all mammals
Case study of affective states – firefighters in protection mode
Fiona Martin and Claudia Nagel

Repeating experiences
Case study of family dynamics – the hidden brother
Claudia Nagel

Do women lead differently, and do they want to lead?
Case study of a woman in leadership – facing up to socialisation and stereotypes
Rob Ryan

Making leaders
Case study of leadership choice – talent is not everything
Olya Khaleelee

Do you need leadership coaching?
Case study of coaching individuals – losing how to lead
Halina Brunning

Not staying on task: how we take care of our fear and avoid working

Facing difficult decisions: dealing with defences, moral choices, and paradoxes
Case study on decision making – failure is always an option
Mal O’Connor

Being together in the locker room: creativity, conflict, and divergent thinking
Case study on creative thinking – a winning space
Gilles Amado

Thinking together – and how to get there
Case study on shared thinking – a joint venture between failure and hubris
Martin Ringer

Understanding hidden feelings and culture
Case study of social dream drawing – healing generational conflict
Rose Mersky

Leading networks and ecosystems
Case study of living systems – dealing with paradoxes and emotional tensions
Claudia Nagel

Taking over and then?
Case study of a merger – crown jewel or poison chalice
Ajit Menon

Love and loneliness
Case study of a working couple – love, isolation, and survival
Annemette Hasselager and Birgitte Bonnerup

Digitalisation of our world of work
Case study of digitalisation – in pursuit of better connections
Phil Boxterk

Leading by the screen: how to do online and hybrid right
Case study of the effects of hybrid work – leading by the screen
Kalina Stamenova

And now? Some final reflexions with an outlook

About the Author(s)

Prof Dr Claudia Nagel is a consultant, coach, author and senior advisor to international organisations and their board members. She is full Professor at the VU Amsterdam University, holding a chair on change and identity. As an economist (MBA), organisational psychologist (PhD) and chartered psychoanalyst (ISAP), Claudia is an expert on strategic management, leadership, and change processes. She runs her own consulting business, Nagel & Company. Claudia is president of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations (ISPSO) and top executive coach for CoachSource. She talks and publishes extensively on behavioural strategy and the psychodynamics of strategy, leadership, and change, and is the author of Psychodynamic Coaching (2020, Routledge) and Leading with Depth (2023, Phoenix)

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