What is it about?

What happens when you see yourself as a leader at work but others don't? This process can be particularly stressful and influence the individual's ability to perform at work. Specifically, our research finds that when an individual sees themselves as a leader but others don't, this is particularly stressful and limits the individual's job performance. However, when an individual doesn't see themselves as a leader but others do, this is seen as a motivating challenge and enhances the individual's job performance.

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Why is it important?

This research looks at leader identity (i.e., To what extent do you see yourself as a leader?). Although prior work has assumed that there will be congruence between an individual's perception and others' perceptions of that individual's identity as a leader, this research breaks that assumption. We find that incongruence is not only impactful in the workplace, but also that type of incongruence has significant implications for the individual's ability to do their job.


Dealing with stress at work is such a popular topic right now due to it's wide-ranging implications both in the workplace and at home. We enjoyed taking a different perspective - leader identity - to try and examine how being a leader at work can influence stress and performance.

Amy Bartels
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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This page is a summary of: Is it just me or am I the people’s choice? The stress and performance implications of (in)congruence between self- and other-identification as a leader or follower., Journal of Applied Psychology, April 2023, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/apl0001090.
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