Understanding how leaders’ humility promotes followers’ emotions and ethical behaviours: Workplace spirituality as a mediator
We propose a meditational model that explains why and how leaders’ humility manifests into followers’ empathy, gratitude, and ethical behaviours. Building on social information-processing theory (SIP), the authors hypothesise that, when a leader has a high level of humility, his or her followers receive signals that increase perceptions of workplace spirituality, which fosters an environment of ethical behaviour, empathy, and gratitude.
The authors collected time-lagged survey data (three time intervals, each a month apart) from employees and their colleagues (n = 286) in nine organisations in Pakistan’s telecom, education, and industrial sectors. Using structural equation modelling (SEM), the authors show that a leader’s humility predicts his or her employees’ ethical behaviours, empathy, and gratitude. Moreover, perceptions of workplace spirituality mediated the time-lagged effects of a leader’s humility on his or her followers’ ethical behaviours, empathy, and gratitude.
The findings largely support the theoretical foundations that indicate that a leader’s humility has important implications for his or her followers’ positive emotions and behaviours through a unique process involving workplace spirituality.
Naseer, Saima, Syed, Fauzia, Nauman, Shazia, Fatima, Tasneem, Jameel, Ifrah & Riaz, Namra. 2020. Understanding how leaders’ humility promotes followers’ emotions and ethical behaviors: Workplace spirituality as a mediator.