Lasting Impression: Transformational Leadership and Family Supportive Supervision as Resources for Well-Being and Performance
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Although evidence is growing in the occupational health field that supervisors are a critical influence on subordinates’ reports of family supportive supervisor behaviors (FSSB), our understanding is limited regarding the antecedents of employee’s FSSB perceptions and their lagged effects on future health and work outcomes. Drawing on a positive job resource perspective, we argue that supervisors who report that they use transformational leadership (TL) styles are more likely to have subordinates with higher FSSB perceptions. We theorize that these enhanced perceptions of work-family specific support increase access to personal and social resources (objectively and subjectively) that buffer work-nonwork demands and enhance health (mental, physical) and job outcomes (performance appraisal ratings, job satisfaction, turnover intentions, work-family conflict). Time-lagged multi-source survey data collected in a field study from retail employees and their supervisors and archival performance ratings data collected a year later support our proposed relationships (with the exception that for health, only mental health and not physical health was significant). Post hoc analyses showed that employees’ FSSB perceptions play a mediating role between supervisor TL and job satisfaction and work-family conflict, but no other outcomes studied. Overall, this study answers calls in the occupational health literature to use stronger designs to determine linkages between leadership-related workplace phenomena as antecedents of health, work-family, and job outcomes. Our results demonstrate that employees with supervisors who report that they use transformational leadership styles are more likely to perceive higher levels of family supportive supervision, which are positive job resources that enhance occupational health.
KeywordsMental health Family supportive supervisor behaviors Performance Leadership Work-family
This research was partially supported by the Work, Family and Health Network, which is funded by a cooperative agreement through the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Grants U01HD051217, U01HD051218, U01HD051256, U01HD051276), National Institute on Aging (Grant U01AG027669), Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Grant U010H008788). Special acknowledgment goes to extramural staff science collaborator Rosalind Berkowitz King (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) and Lynne Casper (now of the University of Southern California) for design of the original Workplace, Family, Health and Well-Being Network Initiative. Persons interested in learning more about the Network should go to https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/wfhn/home.
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Conflict of Interest
On behalf of all co-authors, there is no conflict of interest.
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