Taking the Lead: The Role of Affect in Leadership Effectiveness Defended on Thursday, 14 June 2007
Good leadership is of great importance for the survival and growth of organizations. It is therefore crucial to understand what makes a leader effective. From a psychological point of view, effective leadership can be seen as a social process in which the essence may well be to motivate followers to perform well. In this process, affect -both of the leader and the follower- may play a pivotal role. This role, however, is still poorly understood and important topics that lack attention in scientific literature, are: valence of affect, the activation dimension of affect, and -surprisingly- the follower’s role in determining effective leadership.
In this dissertation, emotions are seen as socially functional. Affect and emotions are therefore regarded as very influential in interactions between leaders and followers. In studying displays of leader affect and the affective characteristics of followers, I focused on positive and negative affect and high and low activation accompanying this affect. In six empirical studies, I report the effects of valence and activation on leader charisma and leader effectiveness from the perspective of the leader and the follower.
This dissertation thus gives central attention to affect and emotions in leadership processes and adds to the understanding of effective leadership. Since emotions are omnipresent in the workplace and in the leader-follower interactions, the results of the present research also have strong practical implications. Especially the implications for crisis- and interim management, and the management of significant changes in organizations have been given extra attention in this dissertation.
Leaders, Followers, Leadership Effectiveness, Charisma, Positive Affect, Negative Affect, Emotions, Arousal, Valence, Activation