When and How Health-Oriented Leadership Relates to Employee Well-Being – the Role of Expectations, Self-care, and LMX
Despite the increasing interest in leaders’ health-promoting behavior, the employees’ role in the effectiveness of such behavior and the mechanisms underlying how such leadership behavior affects their well-being have largely been ignored. Drawing on implicit leadership theories, we advance the health-oriented leadership literature by examining employees’ ideals, i.e., their expectations regarding such leader behavior, as a moderating factor. We propose that higher expectations increase the association between actual health-oriented leader behavior and employee-rated leader-member relationships (LMX) and health-oriented behaviors by employees, which, in turn, positively relate to their well-being (here: exhaustion and work engagement). We tested our theoretical model in three studies, using a cross-sectional design (Study 1, N = 307), a two-wave time-lagged design (Study 2, N = 144) and an experimental design (Study 3, N = 173). We found that the effect of actual health-oriented leader behavior on LMX is contingent on employees’ ideal health-oriented leader behavior. Yet, for employees’ self-care behavior, the proposed moderation was only significant in Study 1. High expectations strengthened the relationship between actual health-oriented leader behavior with LMX and self-care behavior, which, in turn, were associated with less exhaustion and more work engagement, supporting our mediation hypotheses. Our results highlight the pivotal role of employees’ expectations regarding leaders’ health support and help in building practical interventions with regard to leaders’ health-promotion.
Kaluza, A. J., Weber, F., Van Dick, R., & Junker, N. M. (2021). When and How Health-Oriented Leadership Relates to Employee Well-Being – the Role of Expectations, Self-care, and LMX. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 51(4), 404–424.