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How's the boss? Integration of the health-oriented leadership concept into the job demands-resources theory

Miriam Arnold (Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research, Mainz, Germany)
Thomas Rigotti (Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research, Mainz, Germany) (Department of Work, Organizational, and Business Psychology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 9 August 2023

Issue publication date: 29 August 2023




Health-oriented leadership (HoL) encompasses leaders' health behaviors and attitudes toward their followers (StaffCare) and themselves (SelfCare), and there is ample evidence of its positive effects on employee well-being. However, research on the antecedents of StaffCare is still in its infancy and does not account for within-person variability. Therefore, the authors adopt a leader-centered perspective and propose a serial mediation model that links leaders' intrapersonal fluctuations in job resources and demands to StaffCare, mediated by leaders' SelfCare, work engagement and emotional exhaustion.


Over five working weeks, 234 school principals responded to a weekly questionnaire, resulting in a total of 956 responses. Multilevel structural equation models were used for analysis.


The data supported SelfCare as a mechanism in leaders' motivational and health-impairment processes. The proposed serial mediation of the relationship between job resources and StaffCare via leader SelfCare and work engagement was also supported.

Practical implications

The study can guide job redesign for leaders by highlighting the role of job resources. Investing in interventions aimed at the SelfCare of leaders is likely to have a positive impact on their leadership.


These findings suggest that job characteristics and the leader's well-being shape leader cognitions and behaviors. Therefore, the authors suggest integrating the HoL model into the job demands–resources (JD-R) model for leaders.



The authors thank Julia Dörner, Jasmin Dorry and Hannah Kissel for their support in collecting the data.


Arnold, M. and Rigotti, T. (2023), "How's the boss? Integration of the health-oriented leadership concept into the job demands-resources theory", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 419-433.



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