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This study investigated the contribution of both subordinate and leader characteristics in the development of leader-member exchange (LMX) quality. Data from 56 subordinate-superior dyads working at a large West-coast media company revealed that subordinates high in work self-efficacy were liked more by their supervisors, perceived to be more similar to their supervisors, experienced more positive LMX quality, and were rated as better performers than subordinates low in self-efficacy. Previous job experience, was related only to one outcome; supervisor's liking of the subordinate. Subordinates initially low in self-efficacy benefited from high LMX, as evidenced by increased end-of-program self-efficacy. Perceptions of similarity between supervisor and subordinate were found to be more important to LMX quality than actual demographic similarity. Leader self-efficacy and optimism predicted subordinates' ratings of LMX quality only for female supervisors. Unexpectedly, leader self-efficacy and optimism were related to the leaders' own ratings of LMX and subordinate performance.