Based on transactional stress theory and theoretical propositions regarding affective perceptions and reactions, we develop and test a model of reciprocal within-person relations between perceptions of directive and empowering leadership and employee emotional engagement and fatigue. A sample of n = 1,610 employees participated in a study with a three-wave fully crossed and lagged panel design across 6 months. We used a random intercepts cross-lagged panel model (RI-CLPM) to separate within- from between-person sources of variance in leadership perceptions and employee wellbeing. Consistent with previous research, at the between-person level of analysis, we found that directive leadership was positively related to both engagement and fatigue, whereas empowering leadership was positively related to engagement and negatively related to fatigue. Interestingly, at the within-person level, we found that some of these relations occur reciprocally, in that directive leadership predicts engagement and, simultaneously, engagement positively predicts perceptions of both directive and empowering leadership. These findings challenge existing assumptions about the directionality of the association between perceived leadership and employee wellbeing and contribute to an enhanced understanding of the role of employee wellbeing for the development of leadership perceptions over time.