While supportive leadership has been shown to help employees cope with stressful circumstances, little is known about how stressors impact leaders themselves and their ability to offer support to those they lead. Drawing on the transactional model of stress and stress rigidity theory, we thus examine linkages between acute stressors and upper- and lower-level supportive leadership climates for teams of leaders. Employing survey data collected by the U.S. Army from military leaders and their subordinate soldiers in combat, we found support for a negative relationship between acute stressors and lower-level supportive leadership climate. Additionally, upper-level supportive leadership climate moderated the stressors-supportive leadership linkage, such that when upper-level supportive leadership climate was low, there was a more negative relationship between acute stressors and leaders providing supportive leadership to followers. In turn, this lower-level supportive leadership climate resulting from the acute stressors and upper-level supportive leadership climate interaction promoted followers' social cohesion.
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