Managers as Role Models for Health: Moderators of the Relationship of Transformational Leadership With Employee Exhaustion and Cynicism

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Abstract

Drawing on social learning literature, this study examined managers’ health awareness and health behavior (health-related self-regulation) as a moderator of the relationships between transformational leadership and employee exhaustion and cynicism. In 2 organizations, employees (n = 247; n = 206) rated their own exhaustion and cynicism, and their managers’ transformational leadership. Managers (n = 57; n = 30) assessed their own health-related self-regulation. Multilevel modeling showed that, as expected, managers’ health awareness moderated the relationship between transformational leadership and employee exhaustion and cynicism. Employees experienced less exhaustion and cynicism when transformational leaders were aware of their own health. Managers’ health behavior moderated the relationship between transformational leadership and employee exhaustion in 1 organization, but not in the other. With respect to health behavior, we found no significant results for employee cynicism. In sum, the results indicate that when managers are role models for health, employees will benefit more from the transformational leadership style.

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