Extant emotional intelligence research has examined the relationship between employees' emotional intelligence and their job performance. We developed theory to extend this line of research to the domain of leader–employee relationships. Integrating emotional intelligence research with social exchange theory we contended that leaders' emotion perceptions enhance employees' job performance. Drawing from social impact theory we further argued that the strength of this relationship depends upon two contextual variables: within-group task interdependence and power distance. We tested our hypotheses using a sample of 350 employee nested in 74 workgroups. Hierarchical linear modeling results supported the hypothesized relationships between leaders' emotion perceptions and employees' job performance and revealed that this relationship was strengthened by task interdependence and attenuated by power distance.
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