Equipping soldiers to benefit from goal-focused leadership: The moderating effects of non-discriminatory leader behaviors and workgroup cohesion
We apply the Job Demands-Resources model to explicate how two contextual factors (nondiscriminatory leadership behavior and cohesion) may equip subordinates to benefit from the leadership style of goal-focused leadership (GFL), a predominant leadership style in the military context. We predict that only when GFL is delivered in conjunction with nondiscriminatory leadership behaviors in a cohesive workgroup (which, we theorize, combine to create a resource-rich environment), subordinates may experience the lowest levels of exhaustion. We tested our hypothesis in two independent samples of uniformed United States Department of Defense personnel deployed in non-combat zones, and results are fully supportive. We add to recent efforts to expand the nomological network of GFL, pinpointing situational factors that may equip subordinates to experience lower (rather than higher) exhaustion when working with a goal-focused leader. In doing so, we also contribute to theory on diversity and stress, and we suggest practical applications for leadership across a range of hierarchical contexts, including the military and other large organizations. In all, our work may help inform the proper balance of leadership and workgroup factors, which determine the optimal context in which individuals can be equipped to benefit from GFL.