When Leader Emotional Displays Conflict with Follower Social-Relational Goals
30 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2009 Last revised: 4 Nov 2009
Date Written: October 14, 2009
Followers sometimes perform better when their leader expresses anger and sometimes when the leader expresses happiness. We propose that this inconsistency can be solved by considering potential conflict between leader emotions and follower social-relational goals, operationalized in terms of agreeableness. Happiness facilitates affiliation and social connection - states that are also associated with agreeableness. Anger, in contrast, is associated with hostility and conflict - states that are opposite to agreeable individuals' goals. We hypothesized that leader emotional displays enhance or hamper performance depending on whether they match or conflict with follower agreeableness. Four-person teams viewed a video clip of their leader, who provided feedback on their performance in an angry or happy way. Low agreeableness followers performed better with an angry leader and high agreeableness followers performed better with a happy leader. This effect could be explained in terms of experienced workload, which was highest among agreeable followers with an angry leader.
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