Daily transformational leadership: A source of inspiration for follower performance?

Arnold B. Bakker, Jørn Hetland, Olav Kjellevold Olsen, Roar Espevik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


This study uses the full-range leadership model to argue that on days when leaders engage in transformational leadership behaviors, they identify follower strengths and stimulate followers to show personal initiative. We propose that transformational leadership is related to follower work engagement and performance through follower strengths use and personal initiative. Moreover, we hypothesize that followers' personal initiative is most effective when followers use their strengths. A total of 57 Norwegian naval cadets filled out a diary booklet for 30 days (response = 72.6%; n = 1242). Multilevel modeling analyses largely supported our hypotheses. On the days when leaders used transformational leadership behaviors such as intellectual stimulation and individual consideration, followers were more likely to use their strengths and take initiative. These behaviors, in turn, predicted next-day work engagement and next-day job performance. Moreover, followers’ personal initiative was particularly related to work engagement when strengths use was high rather than low. We discuss how these findings contribute to the leadership literature by showing how leaders inspire their followers to lead themselves. In addition, we elaborate on the practical implications for leadership training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)700-708
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Management Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • Job performance
  • Personal initiative
  • Strengths use
  • Transformational leadership
  • Work engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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