Despite renewed interest in traditional trait approaches to leadership and despite recent demographic trends towards an aging workforce research on leaders' age as a specific demographic trait variable has remained surprisingly sparse and fragmented. This article provides a comprehensive review of the empirical literature on this issue. Although a body of research relating leaders' age with their behaviors and outcomes has emerged the existing findings exhibit little consistency and lack theoretical coherence. Integrating theories of emotional aging with research on emotions and leadership we therefore develop a novel emotion-based framework that explicates key mechanisms and boundary conditions underlying age–leadership linkages. Moreover we outline opportunities for further theoretical extensions and provide recommendations for future empirical work. Overall this article paves new ground for contemporary research on leadership traits by highlighting the relevance of leaders' age summarizing current knowledge on this issue and providing new theoretical and empirical directions.
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