Leaders Who are “Engaging” May Help Team Effectiveness

A new analysis shows that a particular leadership style dubbed “engaging leadership” can boost employees’ engagement and enhance team effectiveness within the workplace. Greta Mazzetti from the University of Bologna, Italy, and Wilmar Schaufeli of Utrecht University in the Netherlands present these bits of information within the open-access journal PLOS ONE on June 29, 2023.

An employee who's engaged typically includes a positive frame of mind relating to the work they do and shows vigor, dedication, and absorption in their work. Previous studies suggest more engaged employees generally have greater well-being and better job performance.

Previous research also shows that a certain type of leadership referred to as engaging leadership — involving leaders who fulfill employees’ requirement for autonomy, feeling competent, and feeling looked after — may boost employee engagement. However, most studies of workplace leadership styles have focused on just one point in time, without analyzing potential effects over time.

To provide new insights, Mazzetti and Schaufeli explored the impact of the engaged leadership style on work engagement and team effectiveness of just one,048 employees across 90 teams inside a Dutch workplace. Participants each took two surveys, one year apart, including questions about their supervisors’ degree of engaging leadership, their very own work engagement, and other personal and team characteristics.

Statistical analysis of the responses suggests that supervisors perceived as engaged leaders within the initial survey did indeed enhance employee engagement as captured within the second survey. This impact appeared to occur via a boost in employees’ personal psychological resources of optimism, resiliency, self-efficacy, and adaptability — these answers are consistent with evidence from previous studies.

Similarly, engaged leaders seemed to enhance team effectiveness by boosting team resources, which consisted of performance feedback, trust in management, communication, and participation in decision-making. Team resources also appeared to affect individual employee engagement.

These findings support the use of engaging leadership to enhance employee engagement and team effectiveness at work. Future research could compare the results of engaging leadership versus other leadership styles on employees and teams over time.

The authors add: “A leader who inspires, strengthens and connects team members fosters a shared thought of available resources , and a greater psychological capital .”

1. Greta Mazzetti, Wilmar B. Schaufeli. The impact of engaging leadership on employee engagement and team effectiveness: A longitudinal, multi-level study the mediating role of personal- and team resources. PLOS ONE, 2023; 17 : e0269433 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0269433