This study is an overview of published empirical research on the impact of leaders and leadership styles on employee stress and affective well-being. A computerized search and systematic review of nearly 30 years of empirical research was conducted. Forty-nine papers fulfilled the inclusion criteria, which include the requirements for papers to report empirical studies and to be published during the period 1980 to 2009 in English-language peer-reviewed journals. The studies were mostly cross-sectional (43/49 papers) and examined the impact of leaders' stress (4 papers), leaders' behaviours (e.g. support, consideration and empowerment) (30 papers) and specific leadership styles (20 papers) on employees' stress and affective well-being. Three research questions were addressed. The review found some support for leader stress and affective well-being being associated with employee stress and affective well-being. Leader behaviours, the relationship between leaders and their employees and specific leadership styles were all associated with employee stress and affective well-being. It is recommended that future studies include more qualitative data, use standardize questionnaires and examine the processes linking leaders with employee stress. This may lead to effective interventions.