We investigated how leaders' gender interacts with anger and sadness expression and followers' attributions for their emotional expression on evaluations made by followers. In a laboratory study concerning hypothetical leaders, people evaluated the competence of male and female leaders differently depending on their emotional displays (anger vs. sadness). These differences were observed only when observers made high dispositional attributions for leaders' emotional expression. Perceived leader role-based emotional expression mediated these relationships. In a field study concerning actual leaders, dispositional attributions for sadness and anger expression were negatively related to follower perceptions of the leader, and these attributions moderated the relationships between leader gender and various follower perceptions of the leader. Leader prototype fit mediated these relationships. We discuss the implications of these findings for leadership research and practice.
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