Authentic Leadership and Employee Initiative Behavior

Linking Authentic Leadership with Employee Initiative Behavior. As the business environment changes, the demands on organizational members are also changing. In the past, responsive actions to changes were emphasized, but initiative responses to changes are increasingly required, and achievement of performance is also emphasized.

There are many ways to motivate members to take initiative behavior and achieve performance, one of them being leadership. These days, many recent studies have focused on the specific topic of authentic leadership. This increased interest in authentic leadership is due to recent corporate scandals and various immoral issues. These unethical corporate problems required desirable value-driven leadership, such as authentic leadership, which is believed to solve dysfunctional situations and build trust among organizational members of the leader. Further, authentic leadership has been suggested to motivate followers and increase effectiveness within the organization.

Authenticity is being true to oneself, acting in conformity with one’s true self with one’s own experiences, such as values, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and expressing what one thinks and practices

Authentic leadership is a multidimensional construct composed of self-awareness, relational transparency, balanced processing, and internalized moral perspective. Indeed, authentic leadership is a way of being with a clear set of values. Authentic leaders can promote follower authenticity when they present their authentic selves to others and generate an environment in which followers can have more opportunities for genuine self-expression.

By the way, emotions play a substantial role in authentic leadership because people can utilize rich information that emotions provide about themselves, others, and the various interpersonal interactions inside organizational environments. Authentic leaders can elicit positive emotions from followers and foster a sense of identification with their leaders and organizations. Authentic leaders can broaden followers’ thinking and, in turn, induce behaviors focused on value-added behaviors. These behaviors help followers negotiate organizational challenges more effectively, improve their well-being in the workplace, and eventually build positive emotional states such as job engagement. Therefore, emotional sharing is as an important component of the influence of authentic leadership on followers. Emotional sharing means openly and candidly communicating one’s emotional experiences with others and expressing one’s true inner feelings to others who interact with oneself.

Emotional sharing can help to stimulate social bonds and strengthen social relationships

By talking about an emotional event, people can build a collective memory and consolidate their memory of individual situations where the event occurred. Further, individuals can increase the level of positive affect by speaking out about their positive emotional events or receive various types of help, including comfort, consolation, advice, and solutions, by sharing negative emotional experiences. Therefore, Authentic leaders try to reveal their genuine emotions transparently and are more willing to accept the thoughts or opinions of their subordinates. As followers learn to trust these authentic leaders, followers are likely to share ideas and express their feelings more openly.

Authentic leaders serve as role models for subordinates by demonstrating high moral standards, honesty, and integrity, and motivate followers to respect and identify with their leaders. In addition, authentic leaders show positive psychological states, such as optimal self-esteem and psychological well-being, and help others maintain a positive psychological state like themselves. Because authentic leaders communicate through their own language and high-level moral standards and values, authentic leaders will communicate smoothly with their subordinates and share emotions naturally. Thus, emotional sharing is the open and candid discussion of mutual emotional experiences and expressing one’s own feelings. Emotional sharing with the leader strengthens the emotional bond of the subordinates and allows them to have positive emotions.

Followers with strengthened bonds are more active and willing to take initiatives for the organizational benefit

Initiative behavior is described as a self-initiating personality, an active approach, and continuous overcoming of difficulties in the pursuit of goals. Therefore, employees consider their social environment when evaluating the costs and benefits of initiative behavior. In addition, the close relationship between leaders and subordinates, which can be formed in the organization through emotional sharing, removes uncertainties that may occur in human relationships and allows them to focus more on their work and engage in initiative behavior.

More here:
Kim, J. S., Park, J. G. & Park, H. J. 2022. Linking Authentic Leadership with Employee Initiative Behavior and Task Performance: The Mediating Role of Emotional Sharing and Communication Satisfaction. Sage Open, forthcoming.

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