Affective Match in Leadership: Leader Emotional Displays, Follower Positive Affect, and Follower Performance1


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    The authors thank Stéphane Côté for his constructive and helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Barbara van Knippenberg, Free University, Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, E-mail:


Leader emotions may play an important role in leadership effectiveness. Extending earlier research on leader emotional displays and leadership effectiveness, we propose that the affective match between follower positive affect (PA) and leaders’ emotional displays moderates the effectiveness of leader emotional displays. Leader display of emotions has more positive effects on follower behavior if the match between the valence of leader emotion and follower PA is strong rather than weak. Support for this hypothesis was found in 2 experiments. Congruency between leader emotional displays and follower PA determined follower task performance and extra-role compliance. Results from the second experiment indicated that this effect is a due to affective aspects of leader behavior and not to the valence of message content.