This introduction to the special issue on leadership and emotions provides an overview of the topic and articles included in this issue. We discuss the motivation behind this collection of theoretical and empirical articles, how they contribute to the goals of the issue and where we see this domain of leadership research heading in the future. One goal of this issue was to expand the focus of research beyond moods and generalized affect to discrete emotions and mechanisms through which emotions exert influence such as emotional contagion, empathy, and emotional authenticity. Relative to positive and negative affectivity, discrete emotions, mediators, and moderators of leader emotions have been studied far less. A second goal was to highlight the importance and role of emotion regulation strategies, mechanisms, and effects in the dynamic exchanges between leaders and followers. Finally, we wanted to increase the representation of multi-level perspectives and studies with regard to leadership and emotions. The compiled studies achieve these goals drawing on a variety of theoretical perspectives (e.g., Emotions as Social Information (EASI), Affective Events, Transformational leadership) as well as range of methods (qualitative, quantitative and mixed-methods) and settings (lab and field). Taken together, the findings from this special issue illuminate some interesting relationships and we hope will inform future research on leadership and emotions in a significant way.
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