Ehstoday 1261 Leadership

Transformational Leadership May Boost Employee Well-Being

July 3, 2013
Transformational leadership has been praised for stimulating innovation and worker performance – but a new study reveals it might boost employee mental health and well-being, too.

EHS Today has championed the concept of transformational leadership for years. Now, a study published in the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM)’s Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine also indicates that this leadership style is associated with increased employee well-being.

“A transformational leadership style, which conveys a sense of trust and meaningfulness and individually challenges and develops employees, could lead to greater employee well-being,” according to the new research by Christine Jacobs of University of Cologne and colleagues.

Workers at six German information and communication technology companies were surveyed regarding their employer’s leadership style. A transformational leadership score was based on qualities such as leading by example, making employees feel they are contributing to a common goal, providing intellectual stimulation and giving positive feedback for good performance. Employees also completed a standard test of psychological well-being.

“Employees perceiving a higher degree of transformational leadership are more likely to experience well-being," the researchers explained. The effect of transformational leadership remained significant after accounting for other factors linked to well-being, such as age, education and job strain.

The findings add to studies from other industries suggesting that a transformational style can favorably affect employee well-being. That's especially important because company leadership and managers readily can learn communication skills used in transformational leadership, such as recognizing the needs of others and resolving conflicts.

“Such training programs can be seen as another essential component of workplace health promotion and prevention efforts and therefore should receive wide support,” Jacobs and coauthors concluded.

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