Topic: Employee Satisfaction, Culture, Personality
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2010)
Article: The Downside of Goal-Focused Leadership: The Role of Personality in Subordinate Exhaustion
Authors: S.J. Perry, L.A. Witt, L.M. Penney, and L. Atwater
Reviewed By: Mary Alice Crowe-Taylor
The heart of goal-focused leadership (GFL) is to elicit goal-oriented behavior from employees by emphasizing goal achievement. In theory, GFL should contribute to employee’s resources for handling stress at work by clarifying goals, suggesting ways to achieve goals, structuring tasks and verifying attainment. However, depending on the employee’s personality, this emphasis on goal achievement may or may not be perceived as supportive.
In employees who are less conscientious (less achievement oriented), can GFL cause exhaustion? Yes, if these employees also have low emotional stability. That is, if they are more often distracted by worry and are prone to pessimism. Inherently, these employees have the least “resources” to assist them, and goal-focused leadership may produce exhaustion, through an inability to cope with the stress demands.