Building upon the Self Determination Theory, this study examined whether engaging leadership (strengthening, connecting, empowering, and inspiring) predicts employees’ work engagement, via fulfilling employees’ work-related basic needs. Two studies were performed to test the research model. The first study is a cross-sectional study using a multi-group analysis of an Indonesian (N=607) and Russian (N=425) sample. The second study is a longitudinal study with a two-wave, one-year panel design including 550 Indonesian employees from the palm oil industry. Multi-group analysis disclosed that the mediation model were invariant across both national samples, stressing the cross-national validity of the model. The longitudinal study indicated that engaging leadership at Time 1 positively predicted basic need satisfaction and work engagement at Time 2. Engaging leaders who strengthen, connect, empower, and inspire their employees increased the satisfaction of the employees’ basic needs (need for competence, relatedness, autonomy, and meaningfulness). In its turn, the satisfaction of the basic needs was associated with work engagement. Taken together, these findings suggest that employees’ work-related basic needs are important to be fulfilled in order to increase their work engagement, moreover, engaging leaders play key role to stimulate the fulfillment of those basic needs.