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Affirming our ideals at work

Jayne Callum (Member of the Solutions Team at The Mind Gym Ltd, London, UK)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 6 September 2011




This paper seeks to extend previous research on the self‐concept and leadership to better understand how line managers can successfully influence their direct reports, aiding personal development.


A cross‐sectional, self‐report, online questionnaire was used to collect responses from 116 participants across a number of different industries; including learning and development, healthcare, financial, public sector, and media. The measures used were validated in previous research, with all scales showing high levels of reliability. Results were analysed using bivariate and multiple regression analyses, including the use of a Sobel test to verify mediation results.


Results suggest that the more a line manager affirms their direct report's ideal self at work, the stronger their relationship is perceived, and the more likely the psychological contract is to be fulfilled. In turn, this has a positive impact on job satisfaction.

Practical implications

The research underpinning this paper suggests that line managers have a significant part to play in the development of their direct reports. They must ascertain exactly how each of their direct reports views themselves within their role, and what is specifically important to them as individuals, in order to be able to successfully influence the way they behave and develop.

Originality/ value

This paper contributes to the limited research exploring the influence of the self‐concept on leadership effectiveness and consequent work‐related outcomes. It offers a further understanding of the psychological processes underlying how a line manager influences their direct report's view of themselves and their consequent development.



Callum, J. (2011), "Affirming our ideals at work", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 43 No. 6, pp. 362-367.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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