Purpose: Leaders often provide negative feedback to underperforming followers with the intention of helping improve their performance. However, the anger expression that is often involved in the delivery of the feedback may cause followers to infer negative intentions and, thus, harm the effectiveness of the leader. The purpose of this paper is to examine, from a relational perspective, the condition under which the negative effect of leader anger expressions on leader effectiveness can be alleviated. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected from 355 participants in total through two main studies and two validation studies. Findings: The author found that leader anger expression in negative feedback delivery had detrimental effects on leader effectiveness through follower-inferred negative intentions. More importantly, the detrimental effects of leader anger expressions on leader effectiveness were alleviated when followers had high levels of trust in their leaders. Originality/value: Integrating leader emotion and trust literatures, the present research is the first to examine from a relational perspective (i.e. follower trust) the boundary condition under which leader anger expressions influence leader effectiveness.
- Inferred negative intention
- Leader effectiveness