Previous studies have found mixed results regarding the influence of positive and negative leader affect on follower performance. We propose that both leader happiness and leader sadness can be beneficial for follower performance contingent on whether the task concerns creative or analytical performance. This proposition was put to the test in two experiments in which leader affective display was manipulated and the performance of (student) participants was assessed. The results supported our hypothesis that a leader's displays of happiness enhance follower creative performance whereas a leader's displays of sadness enhance follower analytical performance. Contrasting these findings with evidence for a subjective rating of leadership effectiveness in line with an implicit leadership theory interpretation leaders were perceived as more effective when displaying happiness rather than sadness irrespective of task type. The second study showed that the effects of leader affective displays on followers' creative performance and perceived leadership effectiveness are mediated by follower positive affect indicating that emotional contagion partly underlies these effects.
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