Leadership Style May Promote Mental Health As Well As Performance

Newswise — PHILADELPHIA, PA — A transformational leadership style—valued for stimulating innovation and worker performance—is also associated with increased well-being among employees, reports a study in the July Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

"A transformational leadership style, which conveys a sense of trust and meaningfulness and individually challenges and develops employees, could lead to greater employee well-being," according to the new research by Christine Jacobs of University of Cologne and colleagues.

Workers at six German information and communication technology companies were surveyed regarding their employer's leadership style. A transformational leadership score was based on qualities such as leading by example, making employees feel they are contributing to a common goal, providing intellectual stimulation, and giving positive feedback for good performance. Employees also completed a standard test of psychological well-being.

Based on the results, "Employees perceiving a higher degree of transformational leadership are more likely to experience well-being," the researchers write. The effect of transformational leadership remained significant after accounting for other factors linked to well-being, such as age, education, and job strain.

The findings add to studies from other industries suggesting that a transformational style can favorably affect employee well-being. That's especially important because company leadership and managers can readily learn communication skills used in transformational leadership, such as recognizing the needs of others and resolving conflicts. "Such training programs can be seen as another essential component of workplace health promotion and prevention efforts and therefore should receive wide support," Jacobs and coauthors conclude.

About the Author Ms. Jacobs may be contacted for interviews at [email protected].

About ACOEMACOEM (www.acoem.org), an international society of more than 4,000 occupational physicians and other health care professionals, provides leadership to promote optimal health and safety of workers, workplaces, and environments.

About Journal of Occupational and Environmental MedicineThe Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (www.joem.org) is the official journal of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Edited to serve as a guide for physicians, nurses, and researchers, the clinically oriented research articles are an excellent source for new ideas, concepts, techniques, and procedures that can be readily applied in the industrial or commercial employment setting.