Transformational leadership is associated with a range of positive outcomes. Yet, according to substitutes for leadership theory, there may be circumstances under which it is difficult, if not impossible, for leaders to inspire and challenge their employees. Therefore, we hypothesize that transformational leadership behaviors as well as employee self-leadership strategies contribute to employee work engagement and job performance. Furthermore, we hypothesize that transformational leadership behaviors are more effective when employees have a high need for leadership, whereas self-leadership strategies are more effective when employees have a low need for leadership. A sample of 57 unique leader-employee dyads filled out a quantitative diary survey at the end of each week, for a period of five weeks. The results of multilevel structural equation modeling showed that employees were more engaged in their work and received higher performance ratings from their leader when leaders used more transformational leadership behaviors, and when employees used more self-leadership strategies. Furthermore, we showed that transformational leadership behaviors were more effective when employees had a high (vs. low) need for leadership and that the opposite was true for employee self-leadership. These findings contribute to our understanding of the role of employees in the transformational leadership process.

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Journal of Organizational Behavior
Department of Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Breevaart, K., Bakker, A., Demerouti, E., & Derks-Theunissen, D. (2016). Who takes the lead? A multi-source diary study on leadership, work engagement, and job performance. Journal of Organizational Behavior. doi:10.1002/job.2041