Individualized leadership (IL) was studied in 11 independent formally assigned senior-level relationships. Building on leader–member exchange and transformational leadership theories these dyadic relationships comprised of senior executive leaders and their direct reports were examined using one-on-one interviews and coding of transcript text using qualitative research software.
The results indicated that in dyadic relationships characterized by strong IL followers determined whether their superiors would support their sense of self-worth and thus come to view their superiors as leaders. In so doing follower behaviors contributed to the initiation of these effective leadership relationships and did so while being influenced by three sets of contextual moderators: individual characteristics of the leader interpersonal dynamics and developmental factors. Key findings also include differences between dyads with hired or inherited followers and varying levels of personal closeness correlated with the gender of the leader.
Transformational leader behaviors were found to support the development of theseleadership relationships in unique ways. Implications for future research and practice to understand successful leader–follower relationships are discussed.
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