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The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of the Psychology of Leadership, Change and Organizational Development by Jonathan Passmore, Arthur M. Freedman, Rachel Lewis, H. Skipton Leonard

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8

Leadership and Employee Well-being

Emma Donaldson-Feilder, Fehmidah Munir, and Rachel Lewis

8.1 Introduction

Until relatively recently, the literatures relating to leadership on the one hand and employee well-being on the other were quite separate. While it was obvious to many in the workplace that leadership behavior is a key determinant of employee well-being, the relationships between the two constructs had received very little research or theoretical attention. However, this situation has changed significantly over the last 10 years: the number of researchers interested in the impact of leadership on employee well-being has exploded and the literature has grown dramatically. The consistent message coming from this new and growing body of work is that leadership and the way employees are managed are key determinants of employee health, well-being, and engagement (e.g. Alfes et al., 2010; Skakon et al., 2010).

Leadership/people management can impact on employee well-being in multiple ways, from causing stress to enhancing positive well-being and engagement, modeling healthy behavior, and supporting those suffering ill health, to name but a few. This chapter will focus particularly on three aspects of the leadership–employee well-being relationship: how leadership affects employee stress levels and exposure to psychosocial hazards; the relevance of leadership for sickness absence and facilitation of employee return to work following long-term sickness absence; and the role of leadership ...

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