Although a great deal of research explores the ramifications of leader–member exchange (LMX) quality for the well-being of followers, leader well-being is largely overlooked. To address this gap, we investigate whether leaders' well-being, in the form of positive affect and job stress, can be explained by LMX quality at the group level of analysis. We analyzed data from 1297 group members within 162 groups matched with individual leaders. Results showed that leaders' positive affect and job stress were uniquely explained by LMX differentiation (group-member data), even after several relevant variables, including fundamental leader attitudes and average LMX (group-member data), were taken into account. A subsequent analytical step revealed a significant interaction between average LMX and LMX differentiation for leader job stress, yet not for leader positive affect. Specifically, the positive relationship between LMX differentiation and leader job stress was discovered to be greater at low average LMX than at high average LMX. Overall, the findings highlight leaders' well-being as a promising avenue for future LMX research and a group level of analysis as useful in studying social exchange.
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