Does Self-Care Make You a Better Leader? A Multisource Study Linking Leader Self-Care to Health-Oriented Leadership, Employee Self-Care, and Health.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 05 31; 19(11)IJ
Leadership plays an important role in employee well-being. In light of a growing research interest in leaders' resources as determinants of healthy leadership, it is not yet clear how leaders' behavior regarding their own health (self-care) may trickle down to employees. Drawing on Conservation of Resources Theory and the model of Health-Oriented Leadership, this study tests two mechanisms through which employees may benefit from self-caring leaders: (a) through staff care, that is, concern for their employees' health (improved leadership hypothesis); and (b) through a direct relationship between leaders' and employees' self-care (role-modeling hypothesis). In turn, both staff care and employee self-care would relate positively to employee health. Multilevel path models based on a sample of N = 46 supervisors and 437 employees revealed that leader self-care was positively related to leader-rated staff care at Level 2, which was positively related to employee-rated staff care at Level 1. In turn, employee-rated staff care was positively related to employee health. The findings support the improved leadership hypothesis and underline the importance of leader self-care as a determinant of healthy leadership.