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Trust in the leader alleviates the negative effect of leader anger expressions on leader effectiveness

Bo Shao (Department of Management, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 31 May 2019

Issue publication date: 22 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Leaders often provide negative feedback to underperforming followers with the intention of helping improve their performance. However, the anger expression that is often involved in the delivery of the feedback may cause followers to infer negative intentions and, thus, harm the effectiveness of the leader. The purpose of this paper is to examine, from a relational perspective, the condition under which the negative effect of leader anger expressions on leader effectiveness can be alleviated.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 355 participants in total through two main studies and two validation studies.

Findings

The author found that leader anger expression in negative feedback delivery had detrimental effects on leader effectiveness through follower-inferred negative intentions. More importantly, the detrimental effects of leader anger expressions on leader effectiveness were alleviated when followers had high levels of trust in their leaders.

Originality/value

Integrating leader emotion and trust literatures, the present research is the first to examine from a relational perspective (i.e. follower trust) the boundary condition under which leader anger expressions influence leader effectiveness.

Keywords

Citation

Shao, B. (2019), "Trust in the leader alleviates the negative effect of leader anger expressions on leader effectiveness", Personnel Review, Vol. 48 No. 5, pp. 1120-1134. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-09-2018-0353

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited