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Drawing on the bandwidth-fidelity principle (Cronbach & Glaser, 1957), this paper challenges the use of broad Implicit
Leadership Theories (ILTs) domains in predicting organizational outcomes (i.e., prototypic ILTs and anti-prototypic
ILTs) and provides preliminary arguments for examining ILTs narrow traits (e.g., sensitivity, intelligence) effects on
LMX and consequently on work engagement. Specifically, using polynomial regression and response surface
methodology, I examined the effects of followers’ ideal-actual ILTs congruence on LMX. Additionally, using the block
variable approach, I tested the mediation effects of LMX on the relationship between ideal-actual ILTs congruence and
work engagement, on a sample of 68 employees. The results showed that followers’ fulfilled expectations about
sensitivity and tyranny had linear effects on LMX, indicating the generalized benefits for leaders to be high on sensitivity
and low on tyranny to enhance followers’ LMX. Intelligence, dedication, dynamism, and masculinity had non-linear
effects, revealing that fulfilling followers’ expectations are the best option for leaders to develop high-quality
relationships with their followers. The mediation hypothesis received partly support, suggesting that additional
mechanisms can explain the relationship between followers’ ideal-actual ILTs congruence and work engagement.
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