Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Embargoed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

William Maxwell, MSED

Second Advisor

Adam Payne, EdD


Leadership and Organizational Studies


Employee engagement, according to Gallup Inc., still hovers at approximately 15% globally and hit a recent high of only 34% in the United States (Harter J, 2018). Employee engagement, as measured from a team aggregate of leaders' direct reports, represents a leading indicator in the perceived crisis of leadership. Employee Engagement has not changed in decades (Harter, Schmidt, Agrawl, Plowman, & Blue, 2016). Leaders who incorporate both power and love into their behaviors and communications create followers that view leaders as effective and remain loyal to the leader’s organizations (Dahm & Greenbaum, 2019). Studies on the concepts of love and compassionate love have entered the vernacular of leadership studies. There have not been studies that directly connect to a leader's ability to deliberately combine love and power into their behaviors to produce engaged employees. This phenomenological qualitive study examined how leaders in the Financial Services industry used a combination of behaviors associated with love (softer power bases) and power (harsher power bases) to impact employee engagement. Leaders identified past situations in which they self-identified as using power, love, or a combination of love and power to influence. A love-power synergy exists that boosts employee engagement.

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