Is the health-awareness of leaders related to the working conditions, engagement, and exhaustion in their teams? A multi-level mediation study.

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    • Abstract:
      Background: Research shows that leaders influence the health and well-being of employees, by being either a buffer or major source of employee's work stressors. Various leadership behaviors and their relation to employee outcomes have been examined. Yet, a satisfactory explanation of how leaders' behavior influences health has not been found. A new line of research investigates the construct of "health-oriented leadership", that is, the health awareness of leaders towards themselves ("self-care") and towards their employees ("staff-care"). It is hypothesized that this health-orientation has a direct effect on both leader's and employees' health, as well as an indirect effect mediated by their working conditions.Methods: Data were derived from four company research projects, that involved employee and leader surveys on work, health, and well-being. The sample consisted of 50 teams, with 191 leaders and 604 team members. To test the relation between a leader's self-care and his/her engagement, exhaustion, as well as staff-care, multiple regression analyses and mediation analyses were conducted. The relation between a leader's staff-care, the team's job resources and demands, and the individual employee outcomes engagement and exhaustion were tested with multilevel analyses.Results: Regression analysis showed that the stronger a leader's health-orientation towards him/-herself ("self-care"), the stronger was the health-orientation towards his/her employees ("staff-care"). A leader's self-care was also associated with higher work engagement and lower exhaustion and this relation was mediated by his/her job resources and demands, respectively. Multilevel analysis showed that a leader's staff-care was associated with employee work engagement and exhaustion, and that this relation was mediated by team-level job resources and demands, respectively.Conclusions: The health-orientation of leaders relates to their own as well as their teams' engagement and exhaustion, which is partly mediated by job demands and resources. Thus the construct of health-orientation may prove worthy of further exploration. For practical conclusions, this study provides support for researching not different leadership styles with very specific facets, but a general orientation towards health, which can be implemented into coaching and consulting sessions for organizations. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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