Counselors as leaders: the mediating role of stress in the relationship between psychological capital and transformational leadership

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Breton R. Williams (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
J. Scott Young

Abstract: Leadership is a fundamental factor in organizational success (Koene, Voglaar, & Soeter, 2012). Leader effectiveness occurs when individuals in leadership positions impact groups or followers in ways that aid them in performing their roles with positive organizational outcomes (Dhar & Mishra, 2001). Thus, successful leaders impact organizational effectiveness, goal attainment, employee satisfaction, and organizational well-being (Kaiser & Overfield, 2010). Leadership performance has also been closely linked to stress (Harms, Crede, Tynan, Leon, and Jueng, 2017); which, according to Seaward (2015), can overload cognitive pathways, decreasing the processing and cognitive recall abilities that are necessary to make sound decisions. Therefore, it is imperative that effective leaders understand the concept of stress and how to manage it. Given the counseling profession’s increasing interest in leadership (ACA, 2009; CACREP, 2016), it is surprising that, other than a declaration by Paradise, et al (2010), the counseling profession has not made more efforts to examine how counselors are effective leaders. Given the established link between leadership and effective stress management, the dearth of research related to counselors as effective leaders is even more confounding, as counseling programs produce graduates who have training, skills, and attributes related to wellness, self-care, and approaches to influencing human behavior (e.g., stress management). To date, no other studies exist that have quantitatively examined how counselors may be effective leaders. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between Psychological Capital (PsyCap), Perceived Stress, and Transformational Leadership among counselors in leadership positions using Hobfoll’s (1989) Model of Conservation of Resources (MCR). A hierarchical regression model was created to determine predictability and relationship of variables. Four hypotheses were tested in this study. There was a strong positive relationship discovered between PsyCap and Transformational Leadership among counselors, and a strong negative relationship was discovered between PsyCap and Perceived Stress. These findings were consistent with research in the field of leadership and organizational science. However, an insignificant relationship between Perceived Stress and Transformational Leadership precluded Perceived Stress from acting as a mediator in the relationship between PsyCap and Transformational Leadership. Overall, findings from the study indicate that counselors are effective leaders, maintain significant psychological resources as well as low stress while inhabiting leadership roles.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Counseling, Leadership, Psychological Capital, Stress, Transformational Leadership
Leadership $x Psychological aspects
Transformational leadership
Counselors $x Psychology
Counselors $x Job stress

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