On the Importance of the Superior's Interpersonal Sensitivity for Good Leadership


Marianne Schmid Mast, University of Neuchatel, Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, Rue Emile-Argand 11, CH-2000 Neuchatel, Switzerland. E-mail: marianne.schmid@unine.ch


This research is aimed at showing that interpersonal sensitivity (being attuned to and correctly inferring another person's thoughts and feelings) is an important aspect of what people expect from a good leader and that interpersonally sensitive leaders have more satisfied subordinates. In the first study, participants indicated how much they expected a good superior to be interpersonally sensitive (among other characteristics). People expect leaders to be interpersonally sensitive more so than subordinates. In the second study, participants interacted in same-gender dyads as leaders and subordinates. We measured subordinate satisfaction and leader interpersonal sensitivity. More interpersonally sensitive leaders had more satisfied subordinates. Interpersonal sensitivity is important for good leadership: It is expected from leaders, and it contributes to increased subordinate satisfaction.