How do leaders’ emotions affect employee engagement?

Here’s some new research looking at this question (based on an experience sampling method).

=> “Leaders’ emotional expressions are not just fleeting moments; they may set the tone for the entire workday of employees.”

=> “Leaders’ total amount of positive emotions, such as happiness, excitement and satisfaction, promote employees’ work engagement, as they can enhance positivity on that day.”

=> “Similarly, leaders’ total amount of negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety and anger, can decrease employees’ work engagement on that day, by eliciting more negative feelings in them.”

The authors explain their findings in terms of “Emotion-as-Social-Information (EASI) Theory”.

They suggest:
– Leaders need to enhance their emotional intelligence (EQ)
– Leaders should recognise the power of maintaining consistent (observable) positive emotions in the workplace
– Employees should be aware that their emotions can be influenced by those of their leaders.

=> “When dealing with a volatile leader, maintaining a certain emotional distance might be a wise strategy to safeguard their own emotional well-being at work”.

Yes, you can certainly imagine times when that’s true!

Emotions in the workplace is a hot topic and this is an interesting take on how observed emotions can impact on teams and engagement.

Here’s the link to the article:

The full paper is here: Sun, J., Wayne, S. J., & Liu, Y. (2022). The Roller Coaster of Leader Affect: An Investigation of Observed Leader Affect Variability and Engagement. Journal of Management, 48(5), 1188–1213.

The Emotion Wheel image shown here is from:

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