A leader’s emotional display is proposed to affect his or her audience. In this study, observing a male or female leader express negative emotion was proposed to influence the observer’s affective state and assessment of the leader’s effectiveness. In a laboratory study, a leader’s specific negative emotional tone impacted the affective state of participants in the study. Negative emotional display had a significant and negative main effect on participant assessment of leader effectiveness compared to a more neutral emotional display. Further, a significant interaction between leader gender and emotion was found. Male leaders received lower effectiveness ratings when expressing sadness compared to neutrality, while female leaders received lower ratings when expressing either sadness or anger.
Lewis, K. M. (2000). When leaders display emotion: How followers respond to negative emotional expression of male and female leaders. Journal of organizational behavior, 221-234.