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Andreas Wihler, Rachel Frieder, Gerhard Blickle, Katharina Oerder and Nora Schütte

While previous research has found that transformational and transactional leadership behavior mediates the leader political skill_leader effectiveness relationship (Blickle et al., 2013; Ewen et al., 2013; Ewen et al., 2014), the purpose of this study is to specify which facet(s) of transformational leadership play(s) the most important role in this mediated relationship. Based on a political lens of leadership processes (Ammeter et al., 2002) and the social/political influence theory of organizations (Ferris et al., 2007), we argue that politically skilled leaders should be more effective as a result of their superior abilities to identify and articulate visions. Moreover, we also examine the moderating effect of leaders’ positional power as a leader characteristic capable of reinforcing politically skilled leaders’ use of vision identification and articulation behaviors. Consistent with argumentation that politically skilled leaders can more effectively use vision articulation to strategically direct, unify and mobilize followers, results indicated that leaders who were both politically skilled and positionally powerful were perceived by followers to engage in greater amounts of vision identification and articulation behaviors, and these behaviors, in turn, predicted leader effectiveness. As such, this study builds on the small body of research that links leader political skill to leader effectiveness through leader behavior and draws on insights from previous research regarding the interactive effects of multiple sources of leader power. We discuss how this study contributes to the existing literature with an eye towards the future of leadership and politics research.