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Charisma, Positive Emotions and Mood Contagion


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In a series of studies, we examine the role of positive emotions in the charismatic leadership process. In Studies 1 and 2, ratings of charisma in a natural work setting were linked to leaders' positive emotional expressions. In Study 3, leaders' positive emotional expressions were linked to mood states of simulated followers. Results suggest that mood contagion may be one of the psychological mechanisms by which charismatic leaders influence followers. In Study 4, we used a trained actor and manipulated leaders' positive emotional expressions to isolate the effects of positive emotions from the potential effects of non-emotional aspects of effective leadership (e.g., vision, other inspirational influence processes). A positive link between leader emotions and follower mood was found. Results also indicate that both leaders' positive emotional expressions and follower mood influenced ratings of leader effectiveness and attraction to the leader.
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Charisma, positive emotions and mood contagion
Joyce E. Bono
, Remus Ilies
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, 75 East River Road Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, Michigan State University, N475 North Business Complex,
East Lansing, MI 48824-1112, USA
In a series of studies, we examine the role of positive emotions in the charismatic leadership process. In Studies 1 and 2, ratings
of charisma in a natural work setting were linked to leaders' positive emotional expressions. In Study 3, leaders' positive emotional
expressions were linked to mood states of simulated followers. Results suggest that mood contagion may be one of the
psychological mechanisms by which charismatic leaders influence followers. In Study 4, we used a trained actor and manipulated
leaders' positive emotional expressions to isolate the effects of positive emotions from the potential effects of non-emotional
aspects of effective leadership (e.g., vision, other inspirational influence processes). A positive link between leader emotions and
follower mood was found. Results also indicate that both leaders' positive emotional expressions and follower mood influenced
ratings of leader effectiveness and attraction to the leader.
© 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Charisma; Leadership; Positive emotions; Mood contagion
1. Charisma, positive emotions, and mood contagion
Along with the growing attention devoted to emotions and emotional processes by psychologists in recent years,
there has been a great deal of interest in the experience, expression, and management of emotions, mood, and affect at
work (Ashkanasy, Haertel & Zerbe, 2000; Lord, Klimoski, & Kanfer, 2002; Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987). Theory and
research on emotions at work include topics such the role of mood and emotions in predicting pro-social organizational
behaviors (George & Brief, 1992), emotional contagion in work groups (Barsade, 2002; Totterdell, 2000), emotional
intelligence (Davies, Stankov, & Roberts, 1998), and emotional labor (Schaubroeck & Jones, 2000). Furthermore, the
emergent positive psychology (e.g., Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) and positive organizational scholarship
(Cameron & Caza, 2004; Cameron, Dutton & Quinn, 2003) movements focus specifically on positive emotional
experiences and their implications for organizations.
This interest in emotions has extended to the leadership domain, as evidenced by a special issue of Leadership
Quarterly (volume 13, issue 5, 2002) devoted to the topic of emotions and leadership, and a growing body of research
on neo-charismatic theories of leadership (House & Aditya, 1997), which focuses both on leaders' expression of
emotions and emotional links forged between leaders and their followers (Conger & Kanungo, 1998). Bass (1985)
The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
Corresponding author.
E-mail address: (J.E. Bono).
1048-9843/$ - see front matter © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
notes that transformational leadership has an intense emotional component(p. 36), and Shamir, House, & Arthur
(1993) highlight effects such as emotional attachment to the leader,and emotional and motivational arousal of
followers (p. 577).Fredrickson (2003) suggests that, in organizations, the positive emotions expressed by leaders may
be especially contagious due to their position in the power hierarchy. Indeed, recent research by Sy, Côté, & Saavedra
(2005) found a link between leaders' moods, the moods of their work group members, affective tone of the group, and
dimensions of group performance.
Given the importance of positive emotions for employee and organizational outcomes such as motivation (Erez &
Isen, 2002), creativity, (e.g., George, 1991, 1995, 1996; Spector & Fox, 2002), task performance (see Ashby, Isen, &
Turken, 1999 for a review), and subjective well-being (e.g., Diener, Oishi, & Lucas, 2003), our primary goal in this
article was to examine the effects of leaders' positive emotional expressions on the emotional and attitudinal responses
of their followers for the purpose of gaining insight into the way that charismatic leaderswhether consciously or
non-consciouslyuse emotion to influence followers. Specifically, we suggest that charismatic leaders express
positive emotions, which are transferred to followers, resulting in the experience of positive mood by followers. Fig. 1
presents an overview of the key emotional links between charismatic leaders and their followers. First, we examine the
association between charismatic leadership to the expression of positive emotions. Second, we link leaders' emotional
expressions to followers' moods. Third, we link leaders' emotional expressions to ratings of effectiveness and
followers' attraction to the leader. Fourth, we isolate leaders' emotional expressions from other potentially effective
characteristics or behaviors of charismatic leaders (e.g., having a compelling vision) in a controlled experimental
Brief & Weiss (2002; p. 289) note the organizational literature is populated with many more ideas about the leader's
role in the production of moods and emotions than it is with relevant data.Recent studies (e.g., Barsade, 2002; Sy et al.,
2005; Totterdell, 2000) make steps toward providing such data by examining the mood contagion process in work groups;
each documenting the spread of emotions from leaders to followers and among group members. However, because these
studies either manipulated the expression of positive emotions (by using a confederate; Barsade, 2002, Sy et al., 2005)or
did not consider the role of formal leaders (Barsade, 2002; Totterdell, 2000), we cannot be certain that a) effective leaders in
work organizations actually do express more positive emotions than less effective leaders, and b) that positive emotions
expressionsand not other leadership behaviorsaffect follower moods. Indeed, it is plausible that leaders who are in a
positive mood actually engage in more effective leadership behaviors and it may be these ancillary leadership behaviors
and not the process of mood transfer that leads to both positive follower mood and performance gains.
Our aim in this research is to bridge the gap between the realism of field research on leadership with the metho-
dological rigor of experimental research in the laboratory. Hence, a key contribution of these studies is that they explore
empirical links between follower ratings of charisma obtained in a natural work setting and independent observations of
leadership behavior, such as the expression of positive emotions. Furthermore, in a controlled laboratory setting (Study
4), we attempt to isolate the effects of positive emotions from other potential (non-emotional) influences.
Leader Charisma and the Emotional Contagion
of Positive Emotions from Leaders to Followers
Leader Charisma
Rated Effectiveness
Attraction to the Leader
Note: The dotted lines refer to relationships that have been supported
in the literature but are not tested in these studies.
Behavioral Outcomes
Leader Positive Emotions
Follower Mood
Fig. 1. Leadership charisma and the mood contagion of positive emotions from leaders to followers. Note: The dotted lines refer to relationships that
have been supported in the literature but are not tested in these studies.
318 J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
1.1. Charismatic leadership in work organizations
In the past decade, the bulk of leadership research has focused on transformational and charismatic leadership
(Judge & Piccolo, 2004). In sharp contrast to the rational nature of the transactional leadership paradigm of the 1960s
and 1970s (Bass, 1990), transformational and charismatic leadership theories (Bass, 1985; Burns, 1978; Conger &
Kanungo, 1998; House, 1977) recognize the affective and emotional needs and responses of followers, placing more
emphasis on the emotional, inspirational, and symbolic aspects of leadership influence (Shamir et al., 1993; Conger &
Kanungo, 1998). Attempts to integrate the multiple theories of transformational and charismatic leadership reveal
many commonalities, including leader vision and a charismatic communication style (House & Shamir, 1993; Kirk-
patrick & Locke, 1996). In this manuscript we use the term charisma broadly, encompassing both charismatic leader-
ship theory and the charismatic component of transformational leadership (i.e., idealized influence and inspirational
Empirical associations between follower ratings of charisma and employee satisfaction with leadership, perceived
leader effectiveness, and performance have consistently been found (see meta-analysis by Fuller, Patterson, Hester, &
Stringer, 1996). More recently, Judge & Piccolo (2004) conducted a meta-analysis linking transformational leadership
(including the charismatic dimensions) to follower job satisfaction, follower motivation, and more importantly to inde-
pendently assessed group and organizational level performance. Individual studies have linked charismatic leadership
behaviors to employee cooperation and perceptions of justice (De Cremer & van Knippenberg, 2002), performance on
creative tasks (Bono & Judge, 2003;Sosik, Kahai, & Avolio, 1999), intrinsic motivation (Bono & Judge, 2003), and trust
(Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Moorman, & Fetter, 1990).
1.2. Charismatic leadership and positive emotions
Our proposition that positive emotions play a role in the charismatic leadership process is suggested by an extensive
literature linking positive affect to the same outcomes achieved by charismatic leaders (e.g., cooperation, task perfor-
mance, motivation, creativity). First, Isen and colleagues have demonstrated that positive affect is associated with task
performance, particularly on creative tasks (see Isen, 2004 for a review), though these effects are not universal, as
George & Zhou (2002) demonstrated that under certain conditions positive mood was negatively associated with
creativity. Other studies linked group affective tone (i.e., positive group mood) to group effort and coordination (Sy
et al., 2005), improved cooperation and decreased conflict among group members (Barsade, 2002), and subjective
assessments of performance (Totterdell, 2000). Frederickson's (2003) broaden-and-build theory posits that positive
emotions broaden the relationship between thought and action, leading to increased novelty and exploration of ideas on
the part of employees who experience them.
Second, positive affect (and charismatic leadership) influences motivation and effort. Conger & Kanungo (1998)
argue that leaders who are able to elicit emotional responses from their employees are more likely to achieve desired
changes. Presumably, this is because emotional arousal has motivational properties in that it energizes employees and
increases resource availability (e.g., Kanfer & Ackerman, 1989), leading to increased levels of effort. Additional
research revealed a positive relationship between energetic arousaland task performance (e.g., Matthews, Davies, &
Lees, 1990). Erez & Isen (2002) and Ilies & Judge (2005) directly investigated the links between positive affect and
motivation. Erez & Isen (2002) found that individuals in a positive mood were more likely to believe that their efforts
would lead to performance (i.e., increased expectancy motivation) and that performance would lead to rewards (i.e.,
increased instrumentality; Vroom, 1964). Ilies & Judge (2005) found that individuals set higher goals when they
experienced positive affect.
Third, both charismatic leadership and positive affect have been linked to employee cooperation or contextual
performance (Motowidlo & Van Scotter, 1994). George & Brief (1992) proposed that positive mood at work has a central
role in determining positive spontaneous behaviors at work (e.g., such as helping others), and Spector & Fox's (2002)
model of voluntary behaviors links positive emotions to citizenship behavior. Finally, followers' experiences of positive
emotions have been shown to influence job satisfaction (Thoresen, Kaplan, Barsky, Warren, & de Charmont, 2003),
citizenship behaviors at work (Ilies, Scott, & Judge, in press) and subjective well-being (Diener et al., 2003).
In sum, existing theory and research support the position that inducing or facilitating the experience of positive mood in
employees results in many of the types of behavioral outcomes associated with charismatic leadership, suggesting positive
emotions and mood contagion as one of the basic psychological processes linking charismatic leadership with outcomes
319J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
such as follower satisfaction, motivation, cooperation, and performance. Leadership theory suggests that one of the ways
charismatic leaders influence followers is by painting a positive, optimistic view of the future (Bass, 1985). Ashkanasy &
Tse ( 2000 ; p. 226) suggest that charismatic leaders have a positively biased cognitive schema,leading them to attend to,
interpret, and integrate information in positiveways and Spreitzer & Quinn (1996) found that transformational leaders tend
to have positive feelings toward their environment. Yet, surprisingly little is actually known about charismatic leaders'
expressions of positive emotions. Whereas Conger (1989) describes the speech of charismatic leaders as energetic,
exciting, and emotional, most empirical analyses devoted to the language of charisma have focused on rhetorical techniques
such as imagery (Emrich, Brower, Feldman, & Garland, 2001), analogy, metaphor, and stories (Conger, 1991), rather than
on leaders' emotional expressions.
Research on leader personality also provides reason to believe that positive emotions may be associated with effective
leadership. In the early 1900s, scholars found evidence of a relationship between a happy, cheerful dispositionand
leadership (Bass, 1990). More recently, Judge & Bono (2000) found an association between extraversion and trans-
formational leadership, a finding that was replicated by Ployhart, Lim, & Chan (2001). In addition, a meta-analysis of the
Big Five personality traits revealed that extraversion was positively linked to charisma (Bono & Judge, 2004). According
to Watson & Clark (1997), one hallmark of extraverts is their positive emotionalitythe experience and expression of
positive emotions. For these reasons, we expect that
H1. Individuals who are rated high on charismatic leadership will express more positive emotions.
Although our focus is clearly on positive emotions, we would be remiss in not pointing out that negative emotions
also play a role in effective leadership. Because negative emotions have a stronger and longer lasting effect than positive
emotions and events (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Finkenauer, & Vohs, 2001; Miner, Glomb, & Hulin, in press), they represent a
powerful tool for leaders. Research on public leaders also indicated that leaders' negative facial displays were perceived by
observers to be more honest, credible, and trustworthy than were positive emotional displays (Bucy, 2000). Furthermore,
even the most positive or charismatic leaders may use negative emotions (e.g., anger towards outgroup members) to energize
followers, especially during times of threat. Thus, although the focus of the present research is on positive emotions, it is clear
that negative emotions also play an important role in the leadership influence process.
1.3. Positive emotional transference: mood contagion from leaders to followers
The notion that leaders influence individual and group emotions is not a new one. In 1942, Redl concluded that
emotions exist in groups and that group leaders influence these emotions. Similarly, George (1996) suggests that leader
positivity will influence group affective tone, and Sy et al. (2005) directly linked leader and follower mood. One
avenue through which such influences may occur is through the process of emotional contagion (Hatfield, Cacioppo, &
Rapson, 1994). Emotional contagion refers to the process by which the emotions expressed by one individual are
caughtby another. Hatfield et al. (1994) suggest that this occurs because people tend to synchronize and mimic the
facial expressions, movements, and posture of those they interact with, leading them to experience the emotions of the
other person. Neumann & Strack (2000) argue that when individuals are not aware they are being influenced by
another's emotions, the term mood contagion is more appropriate.
Some individualsthose who are extraverted, possess a rich emotional language, and have expressive facesare
more powerful senders of emotions (Buck, Miller, & Caul, 1974). Friedman & Riggio (1981) found that extraverts and
charismatic individuals are more likely to be able to infect others with their emotions, presumably because they are
more engaging and tend to be more emotionally expressive. Similarly, Cherulnik, Donley, Wiewel, & Miller (2001)
demonstrated that facial expressions (e.g., smiles) of leaders were mimicked by their observers, but only for charismatic
leaders. A characteristic associated with being a strong sender of emotions is that the sender must experience strong emotions
(Hatfield et al., 1994). This is a characteristic of individuals who score high on the personality trait of Openness to Experience,
which has also been associated with charisma (Judge & Bono, 2000). Individuals high on Openness to Experience
experience both positive and negative emotions more keenlythan do individuals who score low on the trait (Costa &
McCrae, 1992,p.15).
In a study of emotional convergence between dating partners, Anderson, Keltner, & John (2003) examined the
reciprocal effects of partners' emotions and found that partners with more power influenced the emotions of the less
powerful partner, but the reverse was not true. This finding suggests that emotions are more likely to flow from leader
to follower, rather than the reverse. For these reasons, we expect
320 J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
H2. Leaders' expressed positive emotions will have a positive influence on followers' mood states.
1.4. Positive emotions and ratings of leader effectiveness and attraction to the leader
The relationship between charismatic leadership and the expression of positive emotions may lend insight into
followers' attraction to such leaders and their effectiveness. There are two distinct theoretical explanations for the links
between leaders' positive emotional expressions and follower attraction and ratings of effectiveness. The first is based on
an associative network model of affect and cognition (mood-congruency, Bower, 1981;oraffectinfusion,Forgas &
George, 2001). The basic idea behind these theories is that emotions pose a structure on memory. Thus, when individuals
feel a certain emotion (e.g., joy), memories and judgments consistent with that emotion are stimulated. Applied to
leadership, this suggests that when leaders express positive emotions, followers will feel more positive (through mood
contagion), and will be likely to make more positive evaluations of the leader.
Second, basic mood theorists (e.g., Thayer, 1996) have long maintained that mood has motivational properties,
in that people are motivated to engage in activities that are likely to result in positive affective states. With respect
to positive emotions, mood-management theory suggests that people experiencing positive affective states will be
motivated to engage in behaviors and cognitions that have the highest potential for maintaining their positive
affective state. Linking this to leadership, one might expect that followers would prefer to work with leaders who
express positive emotions more often or more intensely because they transmit their positivity to the followers who
thus can maintain their own positive mood.
In sum, given the two conceptual arguments discussed above, we predict that
H3a. Leaders' positive emotional expression will positively predict follower perceptions of leaders' effectiveness.
H3b. Followers' own emotional states will predict their perceptions of leaders' effectiveness, such that followers who
experience more positive emotions will rate leaders as more effective.
In order to better understand the role of affect, emotions, and mood contagion in the charismatic leadership process,
we conducted four studies designed to address these questions: Do managers who receive high ratings on charismatic
leadership in a natural work context express more positive emotions than less charismatic managers? If so, do the
positive emotional expressions of charismatic leaders influence the mood of followers; is there a mood contagion
effect? Do leaders' emotional expressions and followers' mood affect attraction to the leader and perceptions of leader
2. Study 1
The purpose of Study 1 was to examine the role of positive emotional expressions in charismatic leadership.
Specifically, do managers who receive high ratings on charismatic leadership in a natural work context actually
use more positive emotions in their communications? Our purpose was to explicitly link ratings of charisma to
independently measured expressions of positive emotions, by examining the content of leaders' written visions for
their work group.
2.1. Method
2.1.1. Participants and procedures
Participants in this study were enrolled in community leadership programs in Pennsylvania, Texas, California, and
British Columbia. They were employed by local organizations, including business, government, and private non-profits.
Participants in community leadership programs are selected from a pool of individuals nominated by their employers as
leaders or future leaders of their community. Data for this study were collected as part of the leadership development portion
of the community leadership program.
At the beginning of the program, survey packets were distributed to 326 community leadershipparticipants. Individuals
who did not have direct reports were asked not to complete the surveys. Program administrators estimated that about 20%
of participants did not have direct reports. Packets included a survey for the participant (leader) and three people who
reported to the leader (followers). Leader surveys asked participants to write their vision for their work group and respond
to a few demographic items. Follower surveys included a measure of the leader's charisma. Leaders were asked to
321J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
distribute the follower surveys to the three direct reports with whom they worked most closely. Surveys were returned to
the authors in postage paid envelopes.
Responses were received from 130 leaders, representing a response rate of approximately 50% of eligible participants,
and about 319 of their followers. However, 27 of leaders who responded had unusable vision statements (e.g., illegible or a
taken directly from a published company vision statement). Therefore, the final number of participant in this study is 103.
Participants were, on average, 42 years old, well educated (ninety percent had a bachelors degree or higher), and slightly
more likely to be female (56%) than male. In general, they were middle managers with two levels above them and four
below them in the organizational hierarchy. The target leaders were employed by organizations of all sizes, with 46% from
organizations with fewer than 100 employees and 15% from organizations with over 5000 employees. The number of
individuals who reported to each leader ranged from one to 80 with a mean of ten and a mode of three. On average, the
direct reports had worked for the target leader for 4.5 years.
2.1.2. Measures Charisma. Charismatic leadership was measured with 12-items from the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire
(MLQ-Form 5X), a widely used measure of transformational and charismatic leadership. This measure has been found to
be valid and reliable (Kirnan & Snyder, 1995). A recent large-scale study (Avolio, Bass, & Jung, 1999)demonstratesthat
two MLQ dimensions (idealized influence and inspirational motivation) can be combined to form a measure of charisma.
We used a scale anchored by 1 =Not at all to 5 =Frequently,if not always. Items were averagedto form scale scores for each
dimension (idealized influence8 items and inspirational motivation4 items) and then averaged to form a charisma
score from each observer's report. We then aggregated the multiple observer scores (average N=3) to form a single
charisma score for each leader. This provides a more reliable measure of charisma and was justified by a significant ICC-1
value, and an ICC-2 value of .67, which is similar to those found in past research using such aggregation procedures (e.g.,
Brett & Atwater, 2001; Judge & Bono, 2000). Leader emotional expressions. Leaders were asked to state their vision for their work group. We prompted
leaders to think of their vision as a set of core principles, beliefs, and goals that guide behavior.They were explicitly
asked to write down their own vision for the work group they supervised and not the vision of their organization. For
each leader we transcribed the text, exactly as written by the leader, to electronic form (Word document). We then used
Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC; Pennebaker, Francis, & Booth, 2001) to assess the extent to which the leaders
expressed positive emotions in the vision. LIWC includes a dictionary of 261 positive emotion words (e.g., happy,
pretty, good). The program counts the number of words that appear on the positive emotion list and computes
emotional content as a percentage of total words. The LIWC dictionary was developed and subsequently validated by
having judges rate the emotional content of hundreds of text files, comparing their results to those of the computer
program (Pennebaker & King, 1999).
2.2. Results
Table 1 presents means and standard deviations, reliability statistics for transformational leadership and
positive emotions, and the correlations between them. Results indicate a significant association (r= .23, pb.05)
between observers' reports of the leader charisma and leaders' use of positive emotion words in their vision
Table 1
Study 1 results
Variable Mean SD αICC-1 ICC-2 r
Charisma 4.04 .60 .91 .37 .67
Positive emotions expressed .24 .24 –– – .23
Notes.N= 103. α= internal consistency reliability. ICC-1= intraclass correlation at individual level. ICC-2 = intraclass correlation at group level.
r=correlation between charisma and positive emotional expression; pb.05.
322 J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
2.3. Brief discussion
Results of Study 1 provide support for the notion that charismatic leadership is linked to the expression of positive
emotions. Indeed, Study 1 is a rigorous test of this link as we had only one, short, writing sample (the leader's vision
statement) and words are only one way that individuals express emotions. However, Study 1 is also limited in that we relied
solely on words and did not consider other important ways in which emotions are expressed and communicated, such as voice
tone and facial and body gestures. Thus, the purpose of Study 2 was to further examine the link between ratings of charisma
and leaders' emotional expressions using a richer source of data. In Study 2, we link charismatic leadership ratings to
expressions of positive emotions in a set of videotaped speeches, allowing us to observe both verbal and non-verbal
expressions of positive emotions in context. In Study 2, we also link leaders' emotional expression to ratings of effectiveness.
3. Study 2
3.1. Method
3.1.1. Participants and procedures
The focal participants in this study were 71 students enrolled in a Leadership and Personal Development course that
was part of an evening, off-campus MBA program at a large Midwestern University. On average, students in this
program are 31 years old, with seven years of work experience; most (95%) are employed full time.
Prior to the start of the course, participants (hereinafter referred to as participant-leaders) received a survey packet and
instructions from the instructor by mail. They were asked to obtain ratings of their leadership behaviors from six
individuals who had the opportunity to observe them in a leadership position (e.g., direct reports if available or work
colleagues). Six surveys and postage paid return envelopes were included. Participant-leaders were also asked to prepare
a35 minute presentation for the first day of class, in response to a brief business scenario (see Appendix A), which
described the merger of a (hypothetical) small local employer with a large national computer services organization. This
merger provided a number of advancement opportunities and participant leaders were asked to play the role of one of
four managers being considered for a desirable local management position. In their presentation, participant leaders were
asked to convince an audience of peers and potential future employees that they were the best person for this ma-
nagement position.
On the first day of classprior to introductions or any discussion of course contenteach participant-leader made a
presentation to the class. The speech was videotaped, with the participant-leaders' permission, for use as a learning tool
throughout the course. All 100 students in the course agreed to be videotaped. At the end of the course 71 students gave
the instructor (the first author) permission to use their videotape for this study. These speeches were subsequently
coded for the expression of positive emotions by 34 raters (participant-raters) and rated on effectiveness and attraction
to the leader by 430 simulated followers (participant-followers).
3.1.2. Measures Charisma. Charisma was measured with the same instrument described in Study 1. Once again, we formed a
composite score for each individual who completed a survey (average of 5.6 surveys per participant) and then aggregated
these multiple reports to form a single charisma score for each participant-leader. Aggregation is justified based on a
significant ICC-1 value and an ICC-2 value of .74. Leader emotional expressions. There is considerable evidence that emotions are expressed and can be reliably
coded from facial expressions and physical movements (Ekman, 1973; Lang, Greenwalk, Bradley, & Hamm, 1993)
Therefore, we measured participant leaders' expression of positive emotions by having multiple trained undergraduate
student raters observe each videotape and then assess the extent to which positive emotions were expressed by the leader in
the videotaped speech. We asked participant-raters to indicate the extent to which each of ten positive emotion terms
(PANAS; Watson,Clark,&Tellegen,1988) were expressed in the speech, using all available verbal and non-verbal cues.
Although the PANAS scales were not designed to measure expressed emotions, the adjectives included in the PA scale
(e.g., happy and excited) correspond to some of the most widely studied positive discreteemotions (Watson, 2000). The PA
and NA constructs are believed to provide a basic structure for measuring affect (Watson & Tellegen, 1985) and have
323J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
demonstrated high reliability (Watson et al., 1988; Watson & Clark, 1994). Furthermore, in training the participant raters,
we emphasized the notion that raters were recording their observations of the verbal and non-verbal expressions of the
person in the tape, not their own emotions or affective responses. Raters responded using a seven point scale anchored by
1=Very strongly disagreeand 7=Very strongly agree.
We randomized the order of presentation of the 71 videotapes, repeating them four times to control for the effects of
presentation order and to control for any possible effects of comparison to the speech immediately preceding the one
being rated. Raters watched one speech, rated each of 10 positive emotion terms, and then watched a second speech,
repeating the process until they had watched a total of 12 tapes and made 12 ratings. In total, 34 student raters (15 men,
18 women, and 1 sex unknown) provided a total of 337 ratings. Positive emotion ratings were provided by an average
of 5 raters per leader.
Similar to our procedures with leadership ratings, we combined raters' responses to the positive emotion terms into a
single composite score representing each participant-leader's expression of positive emotions. Once again, aggregation
is justified based on a significant ICC-1 and an ICC-2 of .68. Effectiveness. We assessed effectiveness of the speeches and attraction to the participant-leader by having
430 undergraduate management students (participant-followers) at a large Southeastern University watch the speeches.
To provide background and context, the business scenario was read to the participant-followers, who were asked to
view the tapes as if they were employees. They were told they would be rank ordering the four candidates for the
leadership position and were encouraged to take notes to help them decide which participant-leader they would most
prefer to work for. Each follower watched four tapes. To assess the effectiveness of the presentation, we asked
participant followers to respond to three statements immediately after watching the presentation. Items were This
leader made an effective presentation,”“I did not find this leader's presentation to be effective(reverse scored), and
This was a high quality presentation.Responses were on a scale anchored by 1 =Very strongly disagreeto 7 = Very
strongly agree.
Our second measure of effectiveness asked participant-followers to rank order the candidates for the new
management position. Raters ranked the speeches by responding to the following two statements: (1) In my role as a
worker in this company, I would vote for the following leader,and (2) If you could not have your first choice, which
leader would be second, third, and last.Thus, a low score for rank indicates the most preferred leader.
The effectiveness rating and the ranking (reverse scored) were highly correlated (r=.95) and were standardized and
combined to form an effectiveness score for each participant leader. In total, 430 participant-followers provided effec-
tiveness ratings and rankings for each of four speeches for a total of 1720 ratings. Each presentation was rated from 17 to 38
times (average 24 ratings per leader). We aggregated the ratings to form a single, standardized, effectiveness score for each
leader (ICC-2= .90). Attractiveness. To be sure that our ratings of positive emotions and effectiveness were not spurious, based on
attractiveness, we had 10 undergraduate psychology students rate the attractiveness of each participant-leader. We
extracted a still photograph with a neutral expression from each of the 71 videotapes. We then randomized the order and
had 10 students rate them on attractiveness using a single item scale (How attractive is the individual in the photo?)
anchored by 1 = not at all attractive and 5= very attractive. Ratings (N=709; average 10 per participant) were combined
to form a single attractiveness score for the leader in each videotaped speech.
3.2. Results
Table 2 presents means and standard deviations, reliability statistics, and variable intercorrelations. Results indicate
a significant association (r= .45; pb.01) between observers' reports of participant-leaders' charisma at work and their
expressions of positive emotions in the videotaped speech. Positive emotional expressions were also linked to ratings
of effectiveness (r= .72; pb.01) and ratings of attractiveness (r= .27; pb.05). Ratings of charisma were not linked to
attractiveness (r= .09), but ratings of effectiveness were (r= .30; p b.05).
To determine whether or not the link between charisma and effectiveness ratings can be explained by the participant-
leader's expression of positive emotions, we followed Baron & Kenny's (1986) test for mediation. Examination of the
results in Table 2 reveals that the first two steps of the test of mediation are met (charisma is correlated with positive
emotions and effectiveness). In Table 3 we report the results of our regression testing the last two steps suggested by
324 J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
Baron & Kenny (1986). We find that the effects of charisma on ratings of effectiveness are mediated through the
expression of positive emotions.
3.3. Brief discussion
Together the results of Study 1 and Study 2 indicate that individuals who are rated high on charisma tend to express
more positive emotions in their written (vision statements) and spoken (speeches) communications, providing support for
the first link in our model. Given concerns among leadership scholars about whether or not questionnaire methods of
assessing leader behaviors actually capture leader behavior or whether they represent attributions made by followers based
on (a) prior knowledge of leader or group performance (e.g., Emrich, 1999; Yorgas, Weiss, & Strickland, 1999), (b)
individuals' implicit theories of leadership or the effects of categorization, attribution, and encoding processes (Cronshaw
& Lord, 1987), or (c) rating biases linked to leader or follower characteristics or similiarities between them (Hoyt, 2000),
our results are reassuring. They suggest that charisma ratings are, at least in part, based on leader behavior.
Results of Study 2 also suggest that leaders' positive emotional expressions mediate the effects of charisma on
ratings of effectiveness. However, this study provides an incomplete examination of the effects of leaders' positive
emotional expressions on followers, as neither Study 1 nor Study 2 explicitly address the issue of mood contagion.
Therefore, the purpose of the next two studies is to determine whether leaders' emotional expressions influence the
mood of followers. In Study 3 and Study 4 we were no longer concerned with the link between charisma and emotional
expression. Rather, we now turn our focus to Link 2 and Link 4 in our model, testing the notion that positive emotions
expressed by leaders affect the follower mood, and that follower mood is linked to ratings of effectiveness.
4. Study 3
4.1. Method
4.1.1. Participants and procedures
Our goal in this study was to examine whether leaders' positive emotional expressions influence follower mood. We
created two experimental treatments: high leader positive emotional expression and low leader positive emotional
expression. We rank ordered the 71 videotapes from Study 2 by their aggregate (across raters) composite scores of
positive emotional expressions. We then selected the four leaders with the highest ratings and combined them on a
single videotape to form our high leader positive affect condition. We did the same with the four leaders with the lowest
positive emotion ratings in Study 2. In comparing the two videotapes, we observed differences in length between the
conditions; speeches with positive emotional expressions were slightly longer. Thus, we selected the two of the top four
Table 3
Study 2 regression linking charisma, positive emotions, and ratings of effectiveness
Effectiveness ratings
Step 1 Step 2
Charisma .36⁎⁎ .04
Leader expressed positive emotions .71⁎⁎
.13⁎⁎ .53⁎⁎
Notes.N= 71. ⁎⁎pb.01. Values in first two rows are standardized regression coefficients (β).
Table 2
Study 2 descriptive statistics and variable intercorrelations
Variable Mean SD αICC-1 ICC-2 1234
1. Charisma 3.75 .35 .83 .21⁎⁎ .74
2. Positive emotions expressed 4.68 1.33 .96 .16⁎⁎ .68 .45⁎⁎
3. Effectiveness 0.00 1.00 .95 .45⁎⁎ .90 .34⁎⁎ .72⁎⁎
4. Attractiveness 2.39 1.06 .51⁎⁎ .92 .09⁎⁎ .27⁎⁎ .30⁎⁎
Notes.N= 71. α= internal consistency reliability. ICC-1 = intraclass correlation at individual level. ICC-2 = intraclass correlation at group level.
=pb.05; ⁎⁎=pb.01.
325J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
(high positive emotions) and three of the bottom four (low positive emotions), resulting in an experimental treatment
that was of equal length (approximately 6 min) and included male and female leaders in both conditions. Thus, our final
experimental treatment of leader positive emotional expressions was comprised of two videotapes; one videotape with
two speeches that were rated high for the expression of positive emotions (high leader positive emotion condition) and
one videotape with three speeches that were rated low for the expression of positive emotions (low leader positive
emotion condition).
As noted in Study 2, our ratings of positive emotional expressions in the speeches were based on the subjective
impressions of multiple raters. Therefore, we also performed a content analysis on the text of the speeches as a mani-
pulation check. As in Study 1, we used LIWC (Pennebaker et al., 2001) to count the number of positive emotion words
used by the leaders our high and low positive emotion conditions.
Participant-followers in this study were 133 undergraduate psychology students (69% female) at a large Midwestern
University who participated in the study for extra credit in a psychology course. When participant-followers arrived,
they were asked to report their mood and then were randomly assigned to a high or low positive emotion condition.
Next, they watched the assigned leader videotapes and after viewing the speeches, they completed another mood
survey. Finally, they were asked to rate the effectiveness of the leader's speeches.
4.1.2. Measures Mood. We used the 10-item PA scale from the PANAS (see Study 1) to assess participant-follower mood.
Because we were interested in the mood states both before and immediately after the positive emotion manipulation,
we asked participants to rate the extent to which they experienced the emotions listed on the survey at the moment they
were filling in the survey. Participants responded by entering a number from 1 = not at all to 7= very strongly in the
space adjacent to each of the emotion adjectives. Participant followers completed the PANAS when they arrived for the
study (Time 1) and again after watching the videotape (Time 2). Effectiveness. After completing the mood measure, participant-followers were asked to answer a few
questions about the leaders in the video. They were told that the individuals in the videotape were responding to a role-
play in which they were vying with several other individuals for a management position. Effectiveness of the leaders
was assessed with a five-item scale: 1) I believe this was an effective group of leaders. 2) If I were to work for this
group of leaders, I would expect our work group to be successful. 3) If I were interviewing for a job, I would be very
interested in working for this group of leaders. 4) I would be interested in applying for a job in an organization if the
individuals I saw were a part of the leadership team. 5) I thought these leaders did a good job in their presentations.
Responses to these items were on a five-point scale (anchored by 1 = strong disagree and 5 = strongly agree) and were
averaged to form a perceived effectiveness score for each participant-follower.
4.2. Results
Tab le 4 presents the mean scores of each study variable in the high and low leader positive emotional expression
condition. As a manipulation check we compared leaders' use of positive emotion words in the two conditions. Nearly
50% of the words used by leaders were pronouns, articles, numbers, and other non-substantive words. There were
significant differences in the use of positive emotion words by leaders in the two conditions; positive emotion words
represented 4.11% of all words used in the high positive emotion condition (average of 16 positive words per leader) and
1.83% in the low positive emotion condition (average of seven positive words per leader). We found no significant
differences in leader attractiveness in the two leadership conditions. As expected, there was also no significant difference
between conditions in participant-follower mood at Time 1 (before they watched the videotapes).However, after exposure
to high or low leader positive emotions in the videotapes (Time 2), participant-followers in the high positive emotion
condition were in a more positive mood. This difference was not significant at the traditional pb.05 level (t=1.93;
p=.056), however, we used a conservative two-tailed test. Controlling for Time 1 mood, the difference in participant
follower mood between conditions at Time 2 was significant (r=.27;pb.01). As expected, ratings of effectiveness were
significantly higher in the leader positive emotion condition.
To further explore the effects of leaders' positive emotional expressions on participant-followers' mood, we examined
the link between our manipulation and participant-followers' mood, controlling for participant mood upon arrival at the
326 J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
experiment. Results in Tabl e 5 show a significant link between our manipulation of leaders' expressed positive emotions
and participant-follower mood after watching the videotapes (β=.21;pb.01). There results support Link 2 in our model.
When participant-followers were exposed to leaders expressing positive emotions, they were in a more positive mood.
In our final analysis, we examine the effects of leaders' positive emotions (our experimental treatment) and of
participant-followers' mood on ratings of effectiveness. We suggested that ratings of effectiveness would be affected
both by the positive emotions expressed by the leaders in the videotape and by participants mood when making the
ratings (Link 2 and Link 4 in our model). Results of a hierarchical regression, reported in Table 5 support this notion.
Moreover, it appears that the effects of leaders' positive emotional expressions and the effects of participant mood on
effectiveness ratings are relatively independent of each other. The effects of leaders' positive emotions are slightly
reduced when we enter participant-follower mood into the regression, but a direct effect of leaders' expressed emotions
4.3. Brief discussion
Results of Study 3 supported our hypothesized link between leaders' emotional expressions and follower mood. We
also found direct effects for both leaders' emotional expressions and follower mood on ratings of effectiveness. Despite
this support for our model, Study 3 has several limitations. First, although we selected the speeches in our experimental
treatment videotapes based on leaders' expression of positive emotions, it is possible that the expressions of positive
emotions may co-vary with other aspects of the speeches. As in Sy et al. (2005), it may be that leader behaviors other
than emotional expression may account for our results. For example, one of the characteristics of charismatic leaders is
their ability to articulate a clear and compelling vision. Thus, we cannot be sure that it was not the content or quality of
the leader's vision or the influence tactics used by the leader (see Yukl & Falbe, 1990) that influenced follower mood.
Second, although we found no significant difference in ratings of attractiveness between our two leader emotion
conditions, the mean attractiveness level of the leaders in our positive emotion condition was slightly higher than that
of the leaders in our low positive emotion condition. Given substantial research evidence that individuals who are
Table 5
Regression linking leader's positive emotional expression with follower mood and effectiveness ratings in Study 3
Effectiveness ratings
Step 1 Step 2
Time 1 follower mood .68⁎⁎ .06 .05
Leaders' expressed positive emotions .21⁎⁎ .60⁎⁎ .53⁎⁎
Time 2 follower mood .31⁎⁎
.47⁎⁎ .37⁎⁎ .42⁎⁎
Notes.N= 133. ⁎⁎pb.01. Values represent standardized regression coefficients (β).
Table 4
Mean scores for Study 3 variables by experimental condition
Leader's emotional expression T-statistic
High Low
Positive emotional Positive emotional
Expression (N= 68) Expression (N=65)
Manipulation check (words) 4.11 1.83 4.74⁎⁎
Attractiveness 2.6 1.9 .47
Follower mood
Positive mood Time 1 2.88 2.75 1.21
Positive mood Time 2 2.65 2.40 1.93
Effectiveness rating 3.56 2.45 9.43⁎⁎
Notes.⁎⁎pb.01; pb.056.
327J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
physically attractive are credited with more positive attributes than less attractive individuals (see Berscheid & Walster,
1974 for a review), it is possible that even slight differences in attractiveness may have affected either participant-
follower mood or ratings of effectiveness or both. Third, although we refer to our participants as followers, they did not
have even a brief relationship with the leaders in the videotapes; they were merely observers. For these reasons, we
conducted a final study in which we (a) manipulated only the leader's expression of positive emotions and (b) created a
somewhat more naturalistic link between the leader and followers.
5. Study 4
5.1. Method
5.1.1. Participants and procedures
In order to manipulate only leaders' expressions of positive emotions, we hired a 30-year-old professional actor to
create two leader emotion conditions (positive and neutral emotional expressions). The actor played the role of the graduate
student project manager (Bryce D.) for the current research project. We created a script in which the actor talked about the
importance of leadership research being done at the university where this research was conducted. He talked about the
researchers' visionto conduct research on leadership effectiveness that could be used to improve management in work
organizations and employees' quality of work lifeand he gave background information on how students who participate
in lab studies aid researchers and managers in understanding leadership effectiveness.The purpose of this information was
to simulate effective leadership in both conditions, to increase participant engagement in the research, and to rule out
several alternative explanations for our Study 3 results (e.g., leader attractiveness, leader vision, leader influence tactics).
No reference was made to leader emotions or the current research questions in communications with participants.
The actor delivered the script with identical content in two conditionsneutral emotion and positive emotion. In the
positive emotion condition, the actor communicated positive emotions (e.g., enthusiasm, excitement, optimism) non-
verbally (i.e., facial expressions) and verbally (i.e., I am really excited about this project). In the neutral emotion
condition the content and vision were replicated, but the positive emotional expressions were removed. The neutral
condition was friendly and pleasant, not negative. Both conditions were videotaped and these videotapes served as the
experimental manipulation of leader emotional expressions (positive and neutral).
To create a more naturalistic leaderfollower link, the actor's script also included instructions for the participant-
followers. Playing the role of leader (i.e., project manager), the actor provided participant-followers with directions for
their tasks in this study. He stated at the beginning of the videotape that he was the project manager and that he would
be leading them through their tasks. After talking about the vision and the leadership research being conducted at the
university, he gave instructions for completing the surveys.
Participants were 174 undergraduate psychology students (66% female; average age 20 years) who participated in
the research for course credit. Participants were told they were participating in a study of leadership effectiveness.
When they arrived, they were told that the project manager had prepared videotape with background on the project and
instructions for their tasks. Participant-followers were placed in a room and told that all materials needed were in the
room. Participants were randomly assigned to either the neutral or positive emotional expression condition. A research
assistant told participant-followers that they would receive further instruction from the project leader on videotape. The
videotape was started and the research assistant left the room. Participant-followers watched the video, which included
Table 6
Mean differences in Study 4 variables in positive and neutral leader emotional expression conditions
Leader's emotional expression T-statistic
Positive leader Neutral leader
Emotional expression Emotional expression
(N= 86) (N= 87)
Follower mood 2.87 2.62 2.31
Leader attractiveness 3.30 3.26 .32
Leader effectiveness rating 3.78 3.35 3.05⁎⁎
Notes.pb.05; ⁎⁎pb.01.
328 J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
the manipulation of the leaders' emotional expressions. At the end of the video the leader asked participants to take a
survey from a tray in the room and complete it. Participants were told to complete the survey and place it in another
tray. The actor asked them to turn off the video and TV before completing the survey. The survey included the mood
measure. On the final page of the survey, participants were informed that they had completed the requirements of the
study and were free to leave.
As participant-followers left the room, they were asked if they had time to complete a brief questionnaire about the
project manager. Ninety-four participants (49 from neutral emotions and 45 from positive emotions) agreed to complete
an additional short survey (because participant followers were told they would not spend more than 30 min, the final
survey was optional). This final questionnaire included items about leader effectiveness and attractiveness.
5.1.2. Measures Mood. We used the 10 item PA scales from the PANAS (see Study 1) to assess the mood state of participant-
followers after they watched the videotaped leader. Participants responded by entering a number from 1 = not at all to
7 = very strongly in the space adjacent to each of the ten positive emotion adjectives. Effectiveness. Volunteer participant-followers completed a five-item measure of effectiveness (adapted from
Study 2; sample items included: Bryce was an effective leader.and If I were to work for Bryce, I would expect our
work group to be successful.). There were no significant differences in the mood of participant followers who
completed the additional survey and those who did not. Responses were on a five-point scale anchored by 1 = strongly
disagreeand 5 = strongly agree. Attractiveness. Volunteer participant followers also completed a three-item measure of leader attractiveness
(e.g., Bryce is an attractive person) using the same five-point scale used for effectiveness.
5.2. Results
Mean scores for study variables in the neutral and positive leader emotional expression conditions are displayed in
Table 6. Participant-followers in the positive emotional expression condition experienced a more positive mood after
watching the videotape than did participants in the neutral emotional expression condition. As expected, the leader was
also rated as more effective in the positive emotional expression condition. However, we found no significant
difference in ratings of attractiveness between the two conditions.
Table 8
Regression linking positive emotions, mood, and effectiveness ratings in Study 4
Leader effectiveness ratings
Step 1 Step 2
Leader positive emotional expression .30⁎⁎ .30⁎⁎
Follower mood .30⁎⁎
.09⁎⁎ .18⁎⁎
Notes. Leader positive emotional expression was coded 1 = neutral; 2 = positive. pb.05; ⁎⁎pb.01. Values in the first two rows represent standardized
regression coefficients (β).
Table 7
Study 4 descriptive statistics and correlations
Variable Mean SD 123
Positive leader emotional expression ––
Follower mood 2.75 .70 .18.84
Leader effectiveness 3.56 .72 .30⁎⁎ .30⁎⁎ .88
Notes. Reliabilities (α) are reported on the diagonal. =p b.05; ⁎⁎=p b.01. N= 173 for all variables except effectiveness ratings where N=94.
329J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
In Table 7, we report correlations and scale reliabilities for Study 4 variable. Results show a significant (r= .18;
pb.01) association between the positive leader emotional expressions (the experimental manipulation) and participant-
follower mood. In our final analysis, we regressed effectiveness ratings from the volunteer participant-followers on
both the leader positive emotional expression condition and participant-follower mood. Consistent with our results in
Study 3, Table 8 results reveal that leader's expressions of positive emotions and follower mood have independent
effects on ratings of effectiveness.
5.3. Brief discussion
Studies 3 and 4 provide support for the notion that leader's positive emotional expression affect follower mood.
Furthermore, we can have some certainty that the effect of follower mood on ratings of effectiveness is something more
than a general, mood-induced, positivity bias, as follower mood did not affect ratings of attractiveness.
6. General discussion
Our purpose in this series of studies was to examine the effects of leaders' positive emotional expressions on
follower mood and perceptions. We found that charismatic leaders express more positive emotions than do less
charismatic leaders and that leaders' positive emotional expressions have a direct effect on follower mood. Further-
more, we found that both leaders' emotional expressions and follower mood had independent effects on perceptions of
leadership effectiveness and attraction to a leader.
With respect to our first aim-determining whether individual who are rated highly on charismatic leadership
express more positive emotions than those rated as less charismaticresults from Study 1 and 2 were consistent.
Leaders who were rated high on charisma by their work colleagues used more positive emotion words in their
vision statements and expressed more positive emotions in prepared speeches. These were rigorous tests of our
hypothesis as we had independent raters for charisma and emotional expressions. Furthermore, charisma and
leaders' emotional expressions were rated in different contexts (at work vs. in a training program). Second, across
the two studies using diverse samples of leaders, different methodologies, oral and written communication, and
both objective word counts and subjective ratings of emotions, we found consistent and significant links between
charisma and leaders' positive emotional expressions. These results support the notion that positive emotions play a
role in the charismatic leadership process and provide construct validity evidence for survey ratings of charismatic
The second contribution of our study was to explicitly examine the effects of leaders' emotional expressions on
follower mood. Prior research (Sy et al., 2005) suggests that leaders' experienced mood may be transferred to
followers. We found that even when the interactions between leaders and followers were brief and casual, leaders'
positive emotional expressions influenced follower mood. Furthermore, by using a controlled experimental design (i.e.,
Study 4) we ruled out the possibility that vision content, emphasizing the importance of the work, and influence tactics
such as inspirational appeals (Yukl & Falbe, 1990), amount of speech, and leader attractivenessrather than leaders'
emotional expressionsinfluenced follower mood.
A third contribution of our study was linking leaders' emotional expressions and follower mood to ratings of leader
effectiveness. This finding was remarkably consistent across study design, methodology, and sample. It is worth noting
here that perceived leader effectiveness, in addition to its connection to actual, or objective, leader effectiveness, is an
important outcome in itself as follower perceptions of leader effectiveness and attraction to the leader are fundamental
requirements for successful leadership and influence. Existing research also links follower motivation (self-efficacy) to
follower's perceptions of leader effectiveness (Watson, Chemers, & Preiser, 2001).
6.1. Limitations and future research
Despite the contributions of these studies, they are not without limitations. With respect to leaders' emotional
expressions, we had only very brief samples of leader communication (vision statements and short speeches). It
would be interesting to obtain samples of leaders' day to day written (memos, email) and oral communications to
examine whether emotional expressions are consistent, within leaders, across situations. Our study is also limited in
that we had only simulated leaderfollower relationships, and these simulated relationships were of short duration.
330 J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
Even in Study 4, where the actor played the role of a leader and actually gave task instructions, there was no
personal relationship formed between the leader and participant followers.
Using a laboratory approach to this research also means that we could not address the issue of how emotional
links between leaders and followers develop and are maintained over time. Furthermore, although Anderson et al.
(2003) found that affective feelings flowed from more powerful to less powerful dating partners but not the
reverse, it is important to examine the directionality of emotional influence between mangers and employees at
work. Another limitation to the step-by-step test of our model in the lab is that we are not able to examine some
important interactions (e.g., between leader and follow mood, between leader expressions and other leadership
behaviors and mood and performance). It is also important to examine in future research whether or not leaders'
positive emotional expressions have cumulative effects on follower mood over time and with increased
interaction, or whether the effects of leaders' emotional expressions on follower mood are immediate and short
Another limitation of our study was our singular focus on positive emotions. Because we did not examine leaders'
expressions of negative emotions, we cannot speak to the extent to which effective leaders also use negative emotions,
whether negative emotions are also transferred from leader to follower, nor can we speak to the effects of negative
emotions and mood on perceptions of effectiveness. Moreover, it maybe that any type of emotional expression
whether positive or negativecommunicates passion and thus would be linked to ratings of charisma. Our study is also
limited in that we did not directly link follower mood to outcomes such as task performance and creativity. Although
some existing research links positive mood to increased performance and creativity, other research suggests that
positive mood can have negative effects on creativity and performance (see George & Zhou, 2002; Kaufmann &
Vosburg, 2002). An important goal for future research is to examine leaders' use of both positive and negative emotions
and the conditions under which these emotions are most effective.
Perhaps the most important limitation of our studies is that we did not actually examine the process by which
leaders' expressed emotions affect follower mood. Direct emotional contagion (i.e., transfer of emotions through
facial mimicry or behavior modeling) effects have been found for charismatic leaders in the past (Cherulnik et al.,
2001); however our studies did not provide a direct test of the emotional contagion hypothesis. A plausible
alternative explanation for why observers were in a better mood after observing a positive leader is that they may
have used the leaders' emotional expressions as a signal. Followers may believe that a leader who expressed
enthusiasm is either (a) truly passionate about their work, making them a more committed leader, (b) a nice, friendly
person who would be more likely to treat employees with respect, or (c) more likely than a less enthusiastic leader to
take an optimistic approach to solving problems and be more developmental then critical when problems are
encountered. Although we did not specifically examine emotional abilities (e.g., empathy) in our research, past
research has linked follower perceptions of leader empathy to perceptions of leadership (Kellett, Humphrey, &
Sleeth, 2002). Therefore it is also possible that leaders' positive emotional expressions in our research were perceived
to be signals of empathy. Especially in settings outside the laboratory, where leaders and followers have more
frequent and extended communication, leaders' positive emotional expressions may act as signals, influencing
followers' expectations about the leader, satisfaction with the leader, and ultimately follower mood, motivation and
task performance.
6.2. Conclusion
Results of our studies clearly indicate that leaders' emotional expressions play an important role in the formation
of followers' perceptions of leader effectiveness, attraction to leaders, and follower mood. Our results also suggest
that charismatic leadership is linked to organizational success, at least in part, because charismatic leaders enable
their followers to experience positive emotions. More importantly, our results indicate that the behavior of leaders
and managers can make a difference in the happiness and well-being of the followers by influencing their emotional
We sincerely appreciate the helpful comments of Bruce Avolio, Mark Snyder, and Tim Judge on earlier versions of
this manuscript.
331J.E. Bono, R. Ilies / The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 317334
The MLQ Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire, Form 5x (copyright 1995 by Bernard Bass and Bruce Avolio), is used
with permission of Mind Garden, 1690 Woodside Road, Suite 202, Redwood City, California 94061. All rights reserved.
Appendix A. Role play scenario
You are one of 30 managers working for a small software company that is based in Clinton, IA. Managers in this
company are complete generalistsno one manager specializes in any particular area. Rather, managers float from
project to project and contribute to all areas of the business. Your company is doing well, so well in fact it has just been
acquired by AOL. Due to the inevitable redundancies involved in mergers and acquisitions, it has been determined that
several of the current managers will be transferred to other locations outside Iowa.
AOL loves the way your group works closely together and makes decisions, so they have left it to the group to
decide who will stay in Clinton. As a result of various selection criteria already imposed (e.g., area of expertise), it has
been determined that there are four individuals who are candidates to stay in Iowa with the current group. You are one
of those four individuals. One of you will stay in Iowa and the others will be transferred to other locations.
Your job is to convince the members of your group (some of these individuals report directly to you and some are
peers in the company who will remain with you in Iowa) that you are the manager who should be chosen to stay with
the Clinton group. Therefore, you should argue why you should stay, based on what you have to offer as a leader. The
group is to decide who will be offered the Iowa position.
Due to various time constraints, you will have only five minutes maximum to make your case. Once all four
individuals have made their case, the group will vote on which person will be allowed to stay in Iowa.
Goal: Your goal in this presentation is to influence the group to select you as the manager who stays with the Iowa
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... The narratives of entrepreneurs are inherently positive as they aim to create likeability for themselves and their products/services to attract resources (Martens et al., 2007). A positive tone might signal optimism in the entrepreneur's abilities (Davis et al., 2012;Loughran and McDonald, 2011) and increase funders' confidence (Bono and Ilies, 2006). In line with the motivational framing mechanisms, positive emotions are able to create a collective identity and a sense of belonging, which rest on feelings of harmony, compassion, friendship, and love, among others (Goodwin et al., 2000;Schrock et al., 2004). ...
... This finding supports the notion that while negative emotions attract attention to social causes, they can also cause feelings of helplessness and inertia, which counter mobilization efforts (Barber a-Tom as et al., 2019). Moreover, negative emotions might also signal investment unsoundness as it does not comply with the blueprint of entrepreneurial narratives in commercial settings (Bono and Ilies, 2006;Davis et al., 2012;Loughran and McDonald, 2011) or might even lower the likeability of the entrepreneur (Martens et al., 2007). As mentioned previously, a reason for this outcome could be found in the unique context of prosocial crowdfunding settings: (1) it is not purely social-unlike the case for communities of "change-makers" where it is necessary to use emotional appeals to embed people within new social bonds (Ruebottom and Auster, 2018); (2) and it is not purely commercial-unlike the case for Kickstarter where social entrepreneurs need to distinguish themselves from commercial entrepreneurs through emotional appeals (Parhankangas and Renko, 2017). ...
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to provide insight into the effectiveness of cognitive and emotional appeals to mobilize resources in prosocial crowdfunding settings that combine the creation of economic and social value. Design/methodology/approach The authors quantitatively measure the effectiveness of cognitive and emotional appeals in the entrepreneurial narratives of 2,098 entrepreneurs from 55 countries shared via the Kiva platform by performing multiple regression analysis. Findings The findings suggest that using cognitive appeals can attract more resources than using emotional appeals. In fact, using affective language in general, and negative emotion words specifically, can be detrimental and attract fewer resources. Originality/value The authors contribute to the entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship literature by linking insights from the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) of persuasion and motivational framing to understand resource mobilization in prosocial settings. This study demonstrates that cognitive and emotional appeals could lead to different outcomes in contexts where entrepreneurial narratives are all framed as “doing good” and individuals allocating resources are highly socially motivated.
... Routine increases failure and followers' disillusionment because charismatic leaders work to lead formally and flexibly. (Bono & Ilies, 2006;Bryman, 1992;Carlos & Rodrigues, 2016). ...
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The goal of this study was to identify the model that best match with the work ethics of public elementary school teachers as estimated by charismatic leadership, supervisory relationship and reciprocity beliefs of school heads in Region XI, Philippines. Conducted from June 2021 to November 2022 using a correlation approach and path analysis, which study employed a quantitative, non-experimental research design. A stratified sampling approach was used to determine the 432 teachers of public elementary schools. Statistics methods employed included mean, Pearson r, and path analysis. Moreover, adapted survey questionnaires were used. The result reveals that the levels of charismatic leadership, supervisory relationship and reciprocity beliefs of schools and work ethics of teachers were very high. Further, when each independent variable correlates with work ethics of teachers, results showed that charismatic leadership was significantly correlated with work ethics. There was also a significant relationship between supervisory relationship and work ethics as well as between reciprocity beliefs and work ethics. Model 3 came out as the best fit model that predicts work ethics. The model showed that charismatic leadership and reciprocity beliefs predicts work ethics among public school teachers. Article visualizations: </p
... Leaders, therefore set the tone for the organization, define its values and norms, and create and maintain a persona of what the organization is like (Marmaya, Hitam, Torsiman, & Balakrishnan, 2011). Within the past decade, the bulk of leadership research focus on the "new leadership paradigm" known as transformational leadership theory (Bono & Ilies, 2006), and empirical evidence has consistently demonstrated that this leadership behaviour can produce positive results such as leadership effectiveness, development of organizational citizenship behaviours, follower commitment to the leader and the organization, as well as follower satisfaction on the job (Ngodo, 2008). ...
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This study investigated the relationship between Leadership Behaviour (transformational, transactional, laissez-faire leadership behaviours), Organizational Citizenship Behaviours and Subordinate"s Job Satisfaction. Data were collected from 1020 local government council employees selected from six sub-cultures across the six gee-political zones in Nigeria. It was found that transformational and transactional leadership behaviours were positively related to Oganizational Citizenship Behavours and Subordinate Job Satisfaction, while laissez-faire leadership behaviour was negatively related to these organizational outcomes. In addition, transformational leadership behaviours augmented transactional leadership behaviours in predicting both organizational outcomes. Implication and suggestion for future research were discussed.
... Happiness brings a life of creative ideas' (Myers and Diener, 1995). 'An individual's momentary affect at work may be influenced by other people with whom he or she interacts through emotional contagion' (Bono and Ilies, 2006). Happiness at work place is not created by the environment in an organisation but rather by employee perceptions and how they interpret in a given situation or event. ...
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Happiness plays an important role in human life and career. Continuous engagement, happiness and satisfaction at the workplace have a positive impact on health that enhances productivity and performance of an employee in organisations. Happiness is generally termed as a positive emotion by psychologists. It is believed in society at large that happiness is a state of mind and the happy people can achieve success in their career through positivity. The present study investigates the level of Work-Life Happiness (WLH) among non-academic staff from select higher educational institutions in India and to find out whether or not the demographic factors influence WLH. The results reveal that the demographic factors significantly influence the level of work-life happiness and their well-being in organisations.
... This generates many impacts in organizations: resilience to negative experiences; ability to handle stressful situations; better communication with coworkers. Moreover, it has been proven by many empirical studies that the emotions of a leader affect the emotional state of his followers, the general atmosphere of the team, and its effectiveness [96,97]. ...
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The main objective of this work is to explore the concept of mindfulness and its growing popularity within organizations with the introduction of the concept of mindful leadership in the management literature. This paper is one of the first in a pair of papers to explore the concept of mindful leadership in organizations. The first section of the paper provides a brief inquiry into the history of mindfulness, the definitions of mindfulness and the neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness meditation. In the second section, the author considers mindfulness in the organizational research before conducting discussion on the concept of mindful leadership in the third section. The paper claims that while many studies have been conducted on mindfulness in diverse research areas, mindful leadership research is still developing, and the author vows for its adoption by business leaders for positive transformation within their organizations. Putting mindfulness into perspective as an energy resource that can activate a spiral of gains, the paper calls for greater research into the concept of mindful leadership. The paper offers a starting point for researchers and organizational development professionals to consider the possibility that mindfulness can be used as an efficient tool for the benefit of business executives.
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Background: There is a growing interest in managers' wellbeing due to the observed associations between their wellbeing and leadership behaviours, and between leadership behaviours and employees' wellbeing. However, it is still unclear how managers' wellbeing influences their practiced leadership across different workplace contexts, which specific behaviours are affected, and how this varies across time. Objective: The purpose of this study was therefore to explore managers' and employees' experiences and perceptions regarding the consequences of managers' wellbeing for their leadership behaviours in small businesses. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 37 participants (19 managers and 18 employees) working at 12 Swedish small firms, and analysed using content analysis. Results: The findings show that managers were more constructive when they felt well, and more passively destructive when unwell. Variations in managers' wellbeing influenced their mood, energy level, and performance, as well as the company's working climate. However, these destructive leadership variations did not have a substantial impact, because several protective factors were present. Conclusion: This study shows that the wellbeing of managers in small businesses has perceptible consequences for their leadership behaviours. The study also shows that sustained leadership behaviours may coexist with temporary variations of these behaviours on a constructive-destructive continuum depending on the leader's wellbeing. Overall, the findings contribute to a more nuanced and dynamic understanding of how the interaction between managers' wellbeing and their behaviours unfolds in the particular context of small companies.
How do episodes of transformational leadership transform followers? To address this question, we build on theories of affective events and affect regulation and develop a research model that explicates a mechanism of the transformation process implicit in transformational leadership theory. Specifically, the model explains how experiencing episodes of transformational leadership transforms (i.e., changes) followers’ positive affect and eventually their work engagement by fulfilling followers’ basic psychological needs. We tested our model in two independent longitudinal samples using daily and weekly measurement designs with 214 (N = 75) and 147 (N = 54) lagged observations, respectively. In support of our model, experiencing episodes of transformational leadership was associated with basic need fulfilment and led to a change in positive affect, which predicted changes in work engagement. Our findings suggest that a focus on affective dynamics can advance theories of leadership.
Rethinking charismatic leadership in organizations: an evolutionary approach This integrative review of literature offers a new perspective on a research object that generates as much fascination as distrust in the research field: charisma as a source of leadership. This research is conceptual and uses the evolutionary perspective to rehabilitate charismatic leadership as a relevant object of study in organizations. Charisma is studied as a signal, and charismatic leadership as a signaling process aiming at unifying a group toward a common goal. This research draws on early developments in the evolutionary approach to propose an in-depth reflection on the identification of charismatic signals, their effects on the group, and the information that is communicated. The objective is to propose a precise and complete understanding of what charismatic leadership is and how it can be used in organizations. The contributions of this research are therefore firstly theoretical: to extend the first developments of the evolutionary approach applied to charismatic leadership and to answer the main criticisms of the concept. The originality of this work is also to have rehabilitated the role of the body as a tool for the transmission of information in the leadership process. But the contributions are also managerial: by converting charismatic signals into verbal and non-verbal communication techniques, we show that they can be used as a strategic resource in organizational leadership.
We link job design and leadership literature to advance our understanding of the dynamics in transformational leadership. We tested the idea that motivating work characteristics can release positive energy (i.e., vigor) and help leaders who care about others (i.e., high in prosocial motivation) to realize their transformational leadership potential. We conducted a weekly diary study and collected data from leaders of organizations in Switzerland over five weeks (k = 100, N = 500). Multilevel analyses supported our hypotheses: When leaders were exposed to more motivating work characteristics (i.e., task significance, skill variety, and cooperation), they felt more vigorous. When leaders felt more vigorous, they showed more transformational leadership, although this finding was only observed in leaders with high (vs. low) prosocial motivation. Findings provide insights into when and for whom we can observe fluctuations in transformational leadership to guide organizations on supporting leaders to unleash their leadership potential.
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Rater bias is a substantial sourer of error in psychological research. Bias distorts observed effect sizes beyond the expected level of attenuation due to intrarater error, and the impact of bias is not accurately estimated using conventional methods of correction for attenuation. Using a model based on multivariate generalizability theory, this article illustrates how bias affects research results. The model identifies 4 types of bias that may affect findings in research using observer ratings, including the biases traditionally termed leniency and halo errors. The impact of bias depends on which of 4 classes of rating design is used, and formulas are derived for correcting observed effect sizes for attenuation (due to bias variance) and inflation (due to bias covariance) in each of these classes. The rater bias model suggests procedures for researchers seeking to minimize adverse impact of bias on study findings.
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In this article, we attempt to distinguish between the properties of moderator and mediator variables at a number of levels. First, we seek to make theorists and researchers aware of the importance of not using the terms moderator and mediator interchangeably by carefully elaborating, both conceptually and strategically, the many ways in which moderators and mediators differ. We then go beyond this largely pedagogical function and delineate the conceptual and strategic implications of making use of such distinctions with regard to a wide range of phenomena, including control and stress, attitudes, and personality traits. We also provide a specific compendium of analytic procedures appropriate for making the most effective use of the moderator and mediator distinction, both separately and in terms of a broader causal system that includes both moderators and mediators. (46 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Using a mood-as-input model, the authors identified conditions under which negative moods are positively related, and positive moods are negatively related, to creative performance. Among a sample of workers in an organizational unit charged with developing creative designs and manufacturing techniques, the authors hypothesized and found that negative moods were positively related to creative performance when perceived recognition and rewards for creative performance and clarity of feelings (a metamood process) were high. The authors also hypothesized and found that positive moods were negatively related to creative performance when perceived recognition and rewards for creativity and clarity of feelings were high.
Objective review of the development, format, and psychometric properties of this instrument.
Two studies were conducted to replicate and extend previous exploratory research by Kipnis, Schmidt, and Wilkinson (1980) on influence tactics and objectives in organizations. A new questionnaire was developed that included measures of important influence tactics and objectives omitted in the earlier research. Whereas the earlier research used only agent self-reports of influence behavior, the present research used both agent and target reports. Differences in downward, lateral, and upward influence attempts were replicated more for data from agents than for data from targets. Direction of influence had a stronger effect on influence objectives than on influence tactics. Despite some differences due to data source and direction of influence, the relative frequency of use for the 8 influence tactics was remarkably similar across conditions. Consultation and rational persuasion were the tactics used most frequently, regardless of the direction of influence.
This chapter discusses physical attractiveness in social interactions. Physical attractiveness is, in many ways, a homely variable. The physical attractiveness variable is unpretentious for at least two reasons. First, it is unlikely that it will be found to be orthogonal to other dimensions, primarily intelligence, socioeconomic status, and perhaps genetically determined behavioral predispositions associated with morphological characteristics. Second, it seems highly unlikely that physical attractiveness will ever form the core concept of a psychological theory, even a much needed social perceptual theory, which will illuminate the way to useful and interesting predictions about social relationships. The chapter focuses on recent social psychological evidence, which suggests that even esthetic attractiveness may be a useful dimension for understanding certain social phenomena, and, perhaps, for illuminating some personality and developmental puzzles as well. Perception of the physical attractiveness level of another appears to be influenceable by the affective and experiential relationship between the evaluator and the person whose physical attractiveness level is to be judged, as well as by factors unique to the evaluator and the setting in which evaluations are made, although none of these factors have been the subject of much study. The impact of physical attractiveness upon the individual has been highlighted in the chapter.